Ottawa Senators annihilate the Montreal Canadiens again - win series
The Senators led from start to finish and ended up pulling away in the third to win their first playoff series since 2007.
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How about that? When Erik Karlsson went down in early February, joining Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen on the injured list, most observers including yours truly wrote off the season. Oh well, it is a short season. Just a couple of months of pain and we get a high draft pick and our star players return healthy for next season. Right? Wrong.
The Senators not only never fell out of a playoff spot, but got three of those four players back, and then proceeded to eliminate the #2 seeded Montreal Canadiens in only five games after a second 6-1 win in five days.
As expected, the Habs came out flying in the first period but as has so often been the case this series, Craig Anderson would not yield. The Senators got on the board on Zack Smith's goal resulting from a horrible Peter Budaj rebound from Matt Kassian's wrist shot along the ice from the left point. Midway through the period, Ottawa made it 2-0 thanks to Cory Conacher's second goal in as many games, this time putting home Erik Condra's rebound into an empty net. The Habs scored a power play goal from P.K. Subban with just 15 seconds left in the period to give them some hope heading into the intermission. Shots were 17-10 Montreal after the first.
Buoyed by closing to within a goal, and with the help of several power plays, the Canadiens threatened for the equaliser early in the second period, but once Anderson again shut them down. Midway through the second period, Erik Condra's shot deflected off Kyle Turris into the net with Turris in the crease after being pushed in by a Montreal player. That seemed to settle Ottawa down and take the wind out of the Montreal sails. Ottawa would this time take the two-goal lead into the intermission. Shots were 11-8 Montreal in the second period and 28-18 overall.
The third period was a death march for the Canadiens as Ottawa made a mockery of their seventh-seeded status. Daniel Alfredsson, Cory Conacher and Erik Condra would each score power play goals to extend the scoreline to 6-1. Unlike the Habs, Ottawa would not sit on their two-goal lead and outshot Montreal 11-6 in the third. The final total was 34-29 in Montreal's favour.
Sens Hero: Kyle Turris
Turris had a fluke goal and only two shots but he had a great game. He played 3:16 of shorthanded ice time, the most among any Senators forward. Also, despite being Ottawa's #1 centre, Paul MacLean put Turris into tough defensive situations with six defensive face-offs and only one in the offensive zone in 5-on-5 play. He didn't create a whole lot, but didn't allow a lot either. The Canadiens had only five attempted shots on net with Turris on the ice 5-on-5 (three on net, one missed, one blocked).
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
34 shots, 33 saves. What more can you say that hasn't been said? The only goal he allowed was deflected, but it was probably a save he should have made. But Anderson was incredible yet again. Remember how he had a 94.1 save percentage in the regular season? Well he's at 95% in the playoffs.
Sens Hero: Erik Condra
Three point night for Condra and was tied with Milan Michalek for the team lead in shots with four. It was great to see Condra get on the score sheet after all the hard work he does defensively throughout the season.
Honourable mention: Daniel Alfredsson
See above for Turris. Repeat.
- Erik Karlsson played only 19:12, although some of this was due to the penalties in the second period and the score line in the third period.
- Despite not being at the level that he was at before the injury, Karlsson had 6 points in the five game series, tied with Alfredsson for the team lead. Since his return from injury he has 10 points in 8 games. That's 1.25 points per game as a defenceman.
- Ottawa outscored Montreal 20-9 in the series. Their 13 goals in the third period/overtime were more than the Habs had in the entire series. According to Brent Wallace, the 13 goals third period/overtime goals by Ottawa are the most in NHL playoff history by a team that didn't allow any third period or overtime goals.
- The Senators averaged four goals scored per game and have a power play of 24%. However the six power play goals came in two games. If the Senators do play Pittsburgh, they might just continue to keep scoring.
- Colin Greening was on for nine defensive zone face-offs and only one in the offensive zone.
- Ottawa will play Pittsburgh if the Penguins can finish off the
PenguinsIslanders. If the Penguins falter, Ottawa will play the New York Rangers if they win, otherwise they will play the winner of the Bruins and the Maple Leafs.
- This was Ottawa's first series win since the 2007 Eastern Conference Final against Buffalo.
- Michalek is tied with Alfredsson for the team lead in shots on goal with 15.
- From tonight's team, only Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips, Chris Neil, Milan Michalek and Sergei Gonchar have ever played a second round playoff game in the NHL. The other is Jason Spezza.