Senators push for playoff spot vs. Flyers

( - After an impressive second-half surge, the Ottawa Senators will try to ensure themselves of a spot in the playoffs on Saturday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the regular season.

Ottawa has compiled a superb 22-4-4 record over the last 30 games, giving the club 97 points on the season and a two-point lead over Boston for a wild card spot. The Senators need just one point from Saturday's regular-season finale and it will officially clinch a playoff berth, but they also could get in if Boston loses later tonight in Tampa.

Ottawa is a point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Eastern Conference's other current wild card club, and also just one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh visits the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, while Detroit is on the road to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Sens were 14 points out of a playoff spot at one point in early February before going on their stellar run. Goaltender Andrew Hammond has been a big part of the renaissance, posting a 19-1-2 record this season since taking over the No. 1 job in February.

Hammond made 26 saves for his third shutout in 23 games this season, as Ottawa posted Thursday's 3-0 road win over the New York Rangers, who are the 2014-15 Presidents' Trophy winners.

Goals by Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Jean-Gabriel Pageau backed up another strong effort from Hammond and the victory pushed Ottawa's point streak to six games (5-0-1). The win combined with Boston's regulation loss at Florida on Thursday gave a huge boost to the Sens' playoff chances.

"It was nothing too fancy. From start to finish, maybe a little bit of an ugly brand of hockey," said Hammond. "But at this time of year it's not about how you win, it's just a matter that you do."

The Senators, trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, are 19-13-8 on the road this season.

Hammond helped Ottawa post a 2-1 shootout victory over a visiting Philadelphia team on March 15. The 27-year-old stopped 27-of-28 shots to earn the win in his first career appearance versus the Flyers.

Ottawa has claimed two of the last three meetings against the Flyers. All three of those games were decided in the shootout.

Philadelphia has claimed two in a row, three of four and six of the past eight at Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers boast a 23-10-7 record this season.

The Flyers, who are out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, are ending 2014-15 on a four-game homestand.

Philadelphia is 3-1-1 this month and both of the club's losses during the stretch came against Carolina. The Flyers lost 3-1 to the Hurricanes on Thursday after dropping a shootout decision at Carolina on April 4.

Ray Emery stopped 24-of-26 shots for the Flyers in their most recent loss against Carolina. Sean Couturier scored the lone goal in the loss, which halted Philadelphia's point streak at seven games (4-0-3).

Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek failed to get a point. He has 81 points on the season and enters the finale three points behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the NHL lead.

Steve Mason will get the start for the Flyers. He is 6-2-1 with a 1.85 goals against average in nine career games against Ottawa.