Just a few short years ago, the Ottawa Senators were the laughingstock of the NHL.
Now that seems like a lifetime ago.Alexei Yashin and Andreas Dackell each had a goal and an assist as Ottawa clinched its second straight playoff berth with a 3-2 victory over Florida on Tuesday night in Miami.
The victory was Ottawa's 33rd of the season, the same number as the franchise's first three seasons (1992-94) combined.
Unlike last year, when Ottawa had to defeat Buffalo in the final game of the regular season to squeak into the postseason, the Senators made sure there would be no need to go down to the wire.
"It feels great to not go down to the last game and to get it over with," goalie Damian Rhodes said.
The Panthers scored two goals in the last 3:34 to make it close, but could not get the tying goal, sending Ottawa into a celebration on the ice.
Rhodes stopped 29 shots to improve to 18-19-7, but he wasn't really challenged much until the final frenzy.
COYOTES 2, RED WINGS 1: Brad Isbister scored one goal and assisted on the second as host Phoenix came from behind to snap Detroit's six-game winning streak.
CAPITALS 3, RANGERS 1: At Washington, Andrei Nikolishin scored the winning goal with his nose, boosting the Capitals' bid for home-ice advantage in the play-offs.
With the score tied 1-1 in the third period, New York goalie Dan Cloutier's kick save sent the puck flush into Nikolishin's face. It then ricocheted off Geoff Smith's glove and into the net for Nikolishin's sixth goal of the season.