April 30, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
This is a #2 seed vs a #7 seed but it doesn’t feel that way. These two teams are very evenly matched. Both are very good defensively. Both have elite defensemen. And both these Northeast rivals have very well balanced forwards. Oh, and their goalies are two of the best in the game. It’s going to be a war of inches when the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators go head-to-head in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Montreal Will Play This Whole Series At Home.
If you consider the home crowd’s cheers to be the biggest benefit of a home game then the Senators are about to play an entire series on the road. Habs fans, like Leafs fans in playoffs past, are going to fill Scotiabank Place and make lots of noise. They are going to boo Daniel Alfredsson and chant ole ole ole ole. In Montreal it’ll be ten times worse. But the Sens are a resilient team and they’re used to that when the Habs come into town. How much of a factor this plays is anyone’s guess. History suggests the Sens don’t do well at home in playoffs games when their own team is getting booed.
The Best Goaltending Matchup In The First Round.
With Carey Price between the pipes the Canadiens can confidently play almost any team in the NHL and know that they have a competitive advantage in net. The Sens are not one of those teams. Sens goalie Craig Anderson broke a modern day NHL record this season by posting a 0.941 save percentage in 24 games. If it comes down to goaltending neither team has a clear advantage. Price has won a playoff round before, unlike Anderson. However, Anderson enters the playoffs playing well, whereas Price has struggled lately. We could see many low scoring one goal games in this series.
The Senators Have Been Fighting All Season.
Long term injuries to the Sens best players this season have forced them to have to fight extra hard just to be here right now. No matter who the Sens threw in the lineup they continued to find a way to win and that shows signs of character. Character wins in the playoffs. But it also leads one to believe the Sens could be a little more exhausted than the Habs as they set to go to war. Plus, the Habs have battled hard too this year, even though they don’t get as much credit for it. Every team that made the playoffs had to play hard almost every night just to get in with this being a short season.
Canadiens in 7.
The Canadiens are typically an amazing first round team. The Sens will be so close to winning and just fall short in the end on a beneficial bounce for the Habs. That’s what the Habs do. And they’ll do it again in this series.