With six games remaining in the regular season the Ottawa Senators have one goal - to head into the playoffs playing the best hockey possible.
Thanks to the play of Brian Elliott the Senators are on the right track. The Senators goaltender was named the NHL's first star of the week after leading the team to four straight wins with a pair of shutouts while posting a .967 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 1.00.
"He's been outstanding, giving us a chance to win every night, making big saves," said Senators forward Mike Fisher. "He's been calm and cool back there and that's exactly what we need."
Fisher, now in his tenth year, has seen the revolving door of goaltenders go through the organization from Patrick Lalime, Dominik Hasek, Martin Gerber, Ray Emery and even Pascal Leclaire.
Leclaire had been signed with the intention of being deemed the latest saviour, but Elliott's play since the start of the new year has allowed him to take the reigns.
Since the New Year, only one goaltender, the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard, has more than Elliott's 18 victories. In addition he is seventh in goals against average with 2.32 and tied for 11th in save percentage with a sparkling .919%.
"It's more of a team thing when we win four in a row and don't let any goals in for two of them, that just speaks to the team," Elliott said. "I wouldn't have had those shutouts without Volchy [Anton Volchenkov] and Philly [Chris Phillips] blocking some open nets."
Having faith in your goaltender's ability to make the big save can reap huge rewards.
"Brian has done an exceptional job. He's been outstanding for us in the pipes," said Fisher. "We have just been rolling four lines. We have a lot of depth up front. Our 'D' have been moving the puck really well and kind of getting a little bit of everything. Our powerplay has been much better.
After missing the playoffs last season the Senators are hungry to return to the postseason and prove they are a force to be reckoned with.
"We know we are a great team and we know how to play. We just have to make sure we are competing every night and not let up. We know we are still pushing for playoff positioning and all that stuff. Our goal is to be going into the playoffs playing our best hockey and being the best team we can be going in."