With the playoffs upon us, I wanted to put together previews of each series, but more specifically, I wanted to put together the type of previews I’d want to read. Bite-sized, few stats, and little splash of opinion for seasoning. This is my attempt at providing that.
2) Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head in 2013: Both teams had a regulation win and a shootout win over their four games.
A stat: Eight of the Canadiens top nine forwards eclipsed 25 points in the shortened season, with the ninth (Rene Bourque), missing 21 games to injury.
Goal differentials: Montreal: +23, Ottawa: +12
Shots-per-game: Montreal: 30.6 (9th), Ottawa: 33.1 (1st)
Shots-against-per-game: Montreal: 26.9 (5th), Ottawa: 31.3 (23rd)
Evaluation of shot differentials: Ottawa shoots the hockey puck a lot.
MTL: Carey Price: .905 save percentage, 2.59 goals-against average
OTT: Craig Anderson: .941 save percentage, 1.69 goals-against average
MTL: Max Pacioretty: 39 points in 44 games
OTT: Kyle Turris: 29 points in 48 games
Reason to watch: The Ottawa Senators might kind of be sneaky good. With Craig Anderson healthy and back in the crease, I wouldn’t be shocked to find them in the Eastern Conference Final.
Lately: Montreal: 4-6-0, Ottawa: 6-4-0
MON: 20.7% (5th)
OTT: 15.9% (20th)
MON: 79.8% (23rd)
OTT: 88% (1ST)
Special teams evaluation: Ottawa is good at killing penalties.
MTL: Alexei Emelin isn’t playing (knee)
OTT: Spezza is done for the year (back)
First game: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST
Flippant barstool opinion: I think the series comes down to whoever gets better goaltending. Also, I’ve been more passionate about playoff matchups.
Montreal struggled down the stretch, and a big part of that was the play of Carey Price. If he pulls it together, which he absolutely can, this seems destined to be a six or seven game series. If he plays like he has pf late, I think Ottawa wipes ‘em up pretty quickly.
Prediction: Senators in six.
Your NHL.com preview: