The Montreal Canadiens lead the Ottawa Senators three games to none in their first round battle. So today we ask our panel, what’s been the best part of the Habs putting a stranglehold on their series with the Sens?
Kyle (@kyleroussel) – The best part has been that despite sluggish starts, the Habs get their act together quickly enough that by the game is over, we can rest easy knowing that the better team won. In fact, I’d say that by the time the game is over, the Senaturds were lucky to have it go to overtime at all. It flatters Ottawa that each game has been a one-goal nail biter. I’d also say that the contributions from Bergevin’s deadline pick ups are a gigantic plus. I was half expecting these guys to contribute, but not to the extent that they have so far. Lastly, I’ll say that snuffing the life out of Senaturds fans has been a joy. The most hypersensitive fan base is getting its lunch handed to it, and they’re too dense to realize it. They think the refs have screwed them all series long (HA!) and think that Subban’s hack on Stone turned the tide.
Damon (@DTA23) – As all year, the play of Carey Price. This guy has been the definition of ice cold. If you didn’t know better you’d think he was in practice judging by his calm demeanour. I’ve also been impressed by the balance. All lines have contributed either by scoring or generating scoring chances. Game 3’s PP seemed broken but in the previous two games they were generating significant scoring chances.
Zach (@ZachVanasse) – Absolutely love the fact that the Habs have undoubtedly been the better team in this series. They’re clearly the experienced squad and even when Coach Cameron and crew threw everything they had at the Canadiens in Game 3 (huge hits, new goalie, roaring OTT crowd) out of pure desperation and survival, the Canadiens allowed them to come out, didn’t get overwhelmed by the push back and then took over the game by the second period. Meanwhile the broadcasters were still singing the praises of Ottawa’s hitting prowess as the Canadiens unloaded shot after shot one Anderson. The Senators are just lucky they decided to start their NHL caliber goalie in this one or it would have been 5-1 after 40 minutes in game three. This team has their eye on the prize and that prize is somewhere way past these pesky Sens. It’s 11:59 p.m. in Sens land now! Sorry Cinderella.
Sean (@TheONeillFactor) – Certain moments act as scientific tipping points, pushing civilization towards reason by invalidating myths and superstitions. The best part of this series has been watching the Habs single-handedly debunk the age-old quackery of ‘Microfractures.’ No longer will future generations have to suffer through this pseudo-scientific lunacy thanks to this series. The Sens ace medical team, seemingly comprised of a roomfull of Dr. Nick Riviera’s, is now relegated to the dustbin of history, akin to climate change deniers or flat earthers.
Microfracture is a bunch of bullshit.
Steph (@stephdarwish) – The best part is watching the players rise to the occasion!
Subban!! Ahhh! I can’t get enough of this man. That 4th line… I am in love.
And this is totally petty of me, but I LOVE that the Habs were the ones to help the clock strike midnight on the Cinderella story of Hammond! Super happy that this guy got to have his 15 minutes, but his time has come to a close. He will have great stories for his grandkids though!
– The best part, in my opinion, is that Carey Price hasn’t had to put the team on his back and carry them through the first round. Oddly, it is very reminiscent of last year’s series vs TB. We will need Price to steal games as the playoffs unfold, however, it hasn’t been the case thus far. In fact, the scores have greatly flattered the Sens. The Canadiens have dominated in shots, possession and scoring chances. They have rolled four lines and are skating the Sens into the ground. Most impressively might be the fact that they appear battle tested, never panicking despite falling behind in each game. In this regard, it feels a lot like ’93. I just hope the Habs can drive the final nail in the Sens coffin in game 4, as an extended series flows into next round, in addition to increasing the chance for injuries. Keep the hammer down and finish this in four and then rest so that we can be ready to best the Bolts in round 2.
I originally picked the Habs to win in a long series and I believed that Price would need to steal 2 games. I hope that I’m wrong on both counts, but this isn’t over just yet.
Lastly, some praise for coach Therrien who has matured as a bench boss and is outcoaching Cameron. His in-game adjustments have been a big reason for the wins. Closing this series in 4 or 5 games will greatly facilitate keeping the troops fresh for round 2. Therrien knows this and will have the boys readied for Game 4 where I hope the game ends with a handshake line.
– I’m impressed with their ability to fight through such heavy hitting and keep things going in spite of. Game three in particular was as rugged as can be, a true test for what’s in store as they move along, and they came through in solid workmanlike fashion. Very proud of this bunch right now.
– Are we all calling for the sweep? Am I the only one worried that if the Habs are up a couple in Game 4 the Sens might start seeking retribution and taking cheap shots?
– I don’t know if this ends in a sweep (if I had to guess I’d say no), but I’m also not afraid of the Sens looking to exact revenge. The league is still watching closely and I don’t think they’d hesitate to levy a suspension that carried over to next season. That would give any fringe player who’d likely deliver such a hit something to think about, especially if that player was looking for a new contract. I expect this to end in 5 games, and if it goes any longer than that, I’ll be very disappointed in the Habs, even though I originally predicted Habs in 6 (I did not expect the series to unfold this way).
John (@RabidHabs_CJ) –
The series isn’t over. Lincoln once said that the hen was the smartest of all animals; she didn’t cluck until after the egg was laid. The Habs can’t let up now. They can’t stop skating and they can’t let their guard down. Ottawa remains a dangerous team and has too much youthful pride not to press the physical play further in Game 4. They hold a clear advantage in this area and will look to exploit said advantage on Wednesday
night. Habs need to play their game and stick to speed, skill and a balanced attack. Nothing positive comes from abandoning this strategy and engaging in a physical battle with the Sens.
– The Senators have found themselves in otherwise impossible to overcome odds once already this season, and they’ll be trying to sell themselves on doing that again. However, I really think Ottawa threw everything they had at the Habs in that first period of Game 3 and still came out on the losing end with Montreal owning them in the final 40. After the way the Habs reacted to the Senators push in the first period of Game 3, I’m not too concerned about this team’s maturity or ability to put the hammer down when they have to. They proved they knew how to finish a sweep in TB last year. No point playing extra games.
– Because we’re not able to know exactly if the Canadiens can sweep or not, I going with sweep because it’s more fun that way. And there’s no reason why it can’t be. They’ve shown character by coming from behind, they’ve taken the physical abuse, there’s some serious contributions from the grinders, and of course Carey Price between the pipes. It’s a great combination, and I’m predicting a sweep because, as I said, it’s more fun that way. And how great it would be to enjoy extra rest and nurse some wounds. I just hope a few guys, like Max and Beaulieu, are 100%.