So, raise your hand if you like playoff hockey. A Senators-Canadiens series with not much heat going into it has absolutely exploded. Starting with a controversial Eric Gryba hit on Lars Eller in game one, a war of words preceding game two, and a line brawl that left the teams with two lines each to finish game three, things are rapidly getting nuts. But that seems to favor the Senators, who have the personnel to play physically if their opponents want to dance, hold a 2-1 series lead, and head into game four coming off a dominating 6-1 performance. Momentum is in their favor and opportunity is knocking.
Biggest Gains: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Pageau becomes just the second Senators player ever to record a playoff hat trick. The other? Daniel Alfredsson. And that's all I'm going to say.
Special Honorable Mention: Whoever started the Pageau-PageauPageauPageau chant on Sunday.
Biggest losses: Guillaume Latendresse
Despite scoring a goal in game one, Latendresse was scratched for game three because head coach Paul MacLean was looking for "competitiveness and physicality." He got that in spades from the lineup he wound up playing, and though Latendresse will probably appear in other playoff games this season, that's not a strong endorsement from the guy who has a huge say in the team's decision to offer you a contract next season. MacLean is not shy about letting better players take spots from others, and it doesn't look like Latendresse has secured a spot. He's just about out of games to win the trust of his coach.
|Craig Anderson||Currently rocking a .949 save percentage through three games. Typical playoff Andy.|
|Robin Lehner||Looks unlikely to play a game. Also looks like a badass.|
|Andre Benoit||Did just fine in game two, notching an assist and saving a goal. But it wasn't enough, as he was scratched for Wiercioch in game three.|
|Sergei Gonchar||Though he had a two-assist game, Gonchar has also taken a stupid penalty in each game of this series. What happened to his veteran status giving him leeway?|
|Eric Gryba||Gryba did his job and got suspended for it.|
|Erik Karlsson||You want proof Karlsson is not 100%? Only 4P (1G, 3A) in 3 games.|
|Marc Methot||GWG in game one and an assist in game three--and remember, he's not on this team to provide offense. Could he be a better fit for this series?|
|Patrick Wiercioch||Got start game three but only played 1:47 before suffering a lower body injury. What bad luck.|
|Daniel Alfredsson||With 4P (1G, 3A) in 3 games, Alfie has continued to lead by example. He's not done.|
|Erik Condra||Condra has one measly assist, but sum all of the little things he's done are more than their parts.|
|Cory Conacher||Conacher has no points in this series, but has drawn penalties--and possibly a suspension for Rene Borque.|
|Colin Greening||Greening has done well in his role. He had a big hit on PK Subban on Sunday that seemed to really contribute to some mental unraveling.|
|Guillaume Latendresse||See "Biggest losses."|
|Milan Michalek||Has a goal and an assist, but have you even noticed him? It's a good thing the Senators haven't needed to lean on him yet.|
|Jean-Gabriel Pageau||See "Biggest gains."|
|Jakob Silfverberg||When he scores a goal, the Senators win.|
|Kyle Turris||Got crushed on faceoffs in game one, and has played much better on a different line since then. He's also got a goal and an assist in this series.|
|Mika Zibanejad|| |
Had two assists in game one, and looks good--but we can't decide if looks are deceiving. More importantly, though, his faceoff record through three games: 9 for 28. That's not a good way to drive puck possession on a puck possession team.