Ottawa Senators fans celebrate as team clinches home ice advantage in 1st round

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Ottawa Senators fans celebrate as team clinches home ice advantage in 1st round

Even before the Ottawa Senators won their game against the New York Rangers Saturday, fans outside the Canadian Tire Centre were ecstatic about the team's season-long performance and their triumphant return to the playoffs.

"The team's been phenomenal. All the young guys actually have really stepped it up. It's good to see our future is very bright," said Gregory Maughan, who calls himself a lifelong Senators fan.

The team's 3-1 win over the Rangers means they've secured second place in the NHL's Atlantic Division, earning home-ice advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Senators missed the playoffs altogether in 2016.

Sens fan Carol Rosenthall said the team has performed strongly throughout the regular season, despite some major challenges along the way. 

"We've had a ton of injuries and ... guys that have come to fill in have done an amazing job," she said. "The team looks like they have a really good spirit." 

Rosenthall said it would be remarkable if the team could bring home the Stanley Cup this year — the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

"I think this city would party for another 150 years if that ever happened," she said.

The playoff schedule hasn't been released, but the Senators are scheduled to host the first two games at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Wth the Boston Bruins losing Saturday afternoon, there's still a slim possibility Ottawa could face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round — but they need to take a point against Pittsburgh tonight.