The Ottawa Senators have just as good a chance as anyone of winning the Stanley Cup.
That probably seems like a laughable statement, seeing as how the Senators have stumbled down the stretch to draw the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they weren't given much of a chance of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs by anyone at the start of the regular season, so why can't they surprise everyone one more time?
The Big Why:
Center - OTT
GOALS: 34 | ASST: 50 | PTS: 84
SOG: 232 | +/-: 11
Not many people will be picking the Sens to upset the top-seeded New York Rangers
in the first round, but Ottawa took three of four in the season series. In the final two meetings of the regular season, the Sens outscored the Rangers 7-1 en route to a pair of easy victories.
If the Senators can handle a team that's been atop the NHL standings for the final four months of the season, everything after that will seem like cakewalk.
Ottawa is also loaded with talent all over the ice.
Jason Spezza quietly finished fourth in the NHL in scoring with 84 points in 80 games. Along with Daniel Alfredsson, they were big factors in the Senators' reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, so the Senators have the experienced veterans that know what it takes to make a deep run in the postseason.
Winger Milan Michalek led the Senators with 35 goals, tied for 11th-most in the League. The addition of center Kyle Turris via trade from the Phoenix Coyotes gives the Senators two dangerous lines of offense.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson could be the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy. The 22-year-old had 78 points in 81 games, by far the most in the League among blueliners -- the next closest contender was Dustin Byfuglien of the Jets with 53 points.
The Big Uh-Oh:
Goalie - OTT
GAA: 2.84 | SVP: 0.914
The Senators are young. But, they have championship experience at the AHL level. Colin Greening
, Zack Smith, Kaspars Daugavins
and Erik Condra
were all part of the Binghamton Senators team that took home the Calder Cup last year.
The Senators also have questions is goal, but Craig Anderson, who missed some time in March due to a hand laceration but showed he was ready for the postseason down the stretch. Should Anderson falter, rookie Ben Bishop has proven NHL ready in his first stint in the League. The 25-year-old filled in admirably for Anderson and could do so again if called upon.
The Final Argument: Ottawa has experience and talent. If they embrace the underdog role in the postseason like they did in the regular season, they will shock the world in June.
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo