The Senators were dominant for most of the night, but the shot attempts for the rest of the game after Ottawa scored were even. Was this primarily Ottawa sitting back on a lead, Montreal upping the pressure, or a good mix of both?
Amelia: I honestly can't remember much of what happened after Hoffman scored, heh. I did think that the way the Sens played after Montreal pulled Price to get the extra attacker was fantastic, the Sens basically kept the Habs pinned in their own zone which is kind of incredible.
Michaela: After they scored, the Sens looked like they were trying to be more defensively sound. Having given up a lead in all three previous games, I think they were extra cautious not to let that happen again. It seems like they were just focusing more on keeping Montreal from scoring for the rest of the game. They also did a great job of not letting Montreal enter their zone, and trapping them in the neutral zone in the final minutes of the third period.
Ross: I think Ottawa sat back a bit more. Montreal can't be happy with the game they played. They allowed Ottawa to dictate the play for the most part. After Ottawa scored they stopped dictating as much in my opinion, allowing Montreal to even up the shot attempts (which is pretty good, since teams losing by a goal in the third often lead in shot attempts).
Adnan: I think even shot attempts while protecting a third period lead is an achievement in itself. As mentioned by Amelia, the Habs could barely touch the puck with the net empty and it wasn't a very tense final minute.
Ian: It seemed like both the forwards and the defencemen were able to force the play at the blue-line, making Montreal dump it in. In previous games, it seemed like we were letting them come in and set up which led to serious trouble. The Sens need to keep pressuring the Habs in all three zones, because pressure usually leads to mistakes which the Sens would hopefully be able to take advantage of. Following up on previous comments, the Sens did an excellent job of not letting the Habs get set up with the empty net. Too many times in that situation, teams let the other team set up a shooting gallery. Thankfully we were spared those tense moments and the Sens kept pressuring the puck and prevented a set up.
The team talked a lot about making life hard for Carey Price. Do you think they managed that last night?
Amelia: I think life was harder for Carey Price last night. There were some scrambly moments, but I don't think it was enough. The Sens only scored one goal on the night and lot of that had to do with Zibanejad's screen of Price. The Sens need to buzz around him because while Anderson has been exceptional in his two games, expecting three straight shutouts is a bit much :)
Michaela: Other than the Hoffman goal, and parts of the third period, I don't think the Sens made life very hard for Carey Price. They weren't getting enough traffic in front of him, and he could see most of the shots they took. Once Hoffman scored, while Zibanejad was screening Price, the Sens took note and started putting someone in front of him more often. But they need to do a better job of this on Friday night.
Ross: Hardly. I think the team tried a bit more to make life hard, but it still felt like there wasn't enough crease presence. The only goal came on a wicked shot from the slot, something you can't expect to beat Price every game even with Zibanejad in front of the net. I can remember one play in the third where Turris threw the puck through the crease but no one was within 6 feet of the puck. If the Sens were at a 1/10 for making life hard on Price in Games 1-3, they were at a 3/10 last night. Still an improvement, but lots of room to get even better.
Adnan: I think Ottawa has created a decent amount of chances in every game and I don't think it was any tougher for Price than usual. The defensive game from Ottawa was very good though.
Ian: I don't think they made life tough on Price, not many second and third opportunities. A couple close moments with a few scrambles in front, but overall I think we can make it a little tougher on him.
Anybody want to go out on a limb with any predictions for Friday's game (play, results, whatever)?
Amelia: 3-1 Senators win. Erik Karlsson gets a hat trick. We get another playoff home date. Montreal starts to get a little nervous and things get interesting.
Michaela: I can't. Too nervous. Go Sens Go!
Ross: Well, seeing as it looks like I'm going to go 1/8 in predicting first-round series winners... Montreal wins 7-2. Ottawa pulls their goalie at 4-2 with 5 minutes left. Price scores into the empty net. Then Subban scores twice on Ottawa's still-empty net to complete his hat-trick.
Adnan: 6-1 Ottawa for old times' sake. Karlsson, Hoffman, Turris, MacArthur and Zibanejad will score.
Ian: I'm really hoping Condra builds off his great game last night, his whole line continues to create havoc for the Montreal D on the forecheck. I'm feeling a 3-1 Sens win including an empty netter. I'm really hoping we get more powerplays than the Habs... drives me nuts!