It’s pretty safe to say there is no love lost between the fan bases of the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. As original six teams, they have had a mutual contempt that has stretched back generations. When the Boston Bruins went on their final skid of the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens ended up winning the division and clinching the second seed. That left the Canadiens facing the seventh seed in the west, and this year it was the Ottawa Senators. (There is a certain level of irony to it that we lost the division due to the actions of the Ottawa Senators.)
Montreal seemed pleased and excited by this draw. Perhaps they were expecting an easy four or five game sweep of the Sens. The Ottawa Senators had been battling injuries, and were playing with more heart and more AHL players than any other team in the league. Like it says on the Senators home web site, after eighty-six years a historic rivalry has been re-born.
Ottawa only needed five games to take the best-of-seven series. 4-1 This will be the first time the Senators are moving onto the second round of the playoffs since 2007. Back then, the Senators lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Anaheim Ducks. (Shawn Thornton was a member of the Ducks squad back then.)
In the defense of Montreal, the team had suffered through a string of injuries entering the playoffs and the number of their players falling off in the postseason only acerbated their problems. PK Subban was able to score one for the Habs, but Craig Anderson became a wall for Ottawa. (While penalties plagued Ottawa throughout the game, Anderson had an outstanding evening.) On the other end, Peter Budaj was subjected to a barrage of shots from all sorts of angles. It got so bad, the Kyle Turris‘ backside was able to score a goal of Budaj. (It was probably the rear end’s first goal, and it was a shorthanded one at that.)
In the end, the points just kept adding up. Three power play goals by Ottawa in the third closed the door on Montreal. The end was a 6-1 blowout and an affirmation of the Senators endurance. Paul MacLean has practically wrapped up the Coach of the Year honors for what he has been given and what he has done with it. So, congratulations to the Ottawa Senators!