NHL 2013 PLAYOFFS: ROUND 1 – MONTREAL vs OTTAWA
SERIES BEGINS: THURSDAY 2ND MAY 2013
PUCK DROP: 7PM ET (12AM GMT)
HOW WILL IT GO DOWN? The Montreal Canadiens completed one hell of a turnaround from last year to this: after ending last season in 28th place, they rocketed up the standings this year to finish 2nd in the Eastern Conference, a remarkable feat for a team that nobody expected a great deal from. They were strong in each month of the season, except for April where they limped to the finish line – could that be a sign of weakness? We’ll find out tonight, but the Canadiens certainly look to have a strong, if unremarkable roster. PK Subban is the star on the team, but the likes of Pacioretty and Price aren’t that far behind, and they’re surrounded by an incredibly capable depth chart. Price will be one of the most important pieces if the Habs want any success — he’s had a middling season so far and will need to be better.
In Ottawa, most people suspected the team was doomed after star players Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson all went down to injury for much of the season. The team just kept going though, staying in the race right to the end and locking up a spot that likely would have been a lot higher if those players were playing. That’s a great testament to the overall quality of the roster; I wouldn’t say they have the same depth of quality as Montreal, but the sum of all the parts they do have adds up to a reasonably well rounded team. Anderson is back, and Karlsson likely is too, meaning that the Senators are likely better than their 7th seeding indicates.
PREDICTION: I like that the Senators have been rolling along without their stars all year, but I’m not sure the overall quality of their roster matches Montreal’s. Montreal will take this series in 6 games.