|G/PG||2.61 (20th)||2.83 (9th)|
|GA/PG||2.24 (1st)||2.54 (13th)|
|PP%||16.5% (23rd)||16.8% (22nd)|
|PK%||83.7% (7th)||82.9% (11th)|
Ottawa won 3-1-0.
Dec. 20 – MTL 4 – 1 OTT
Jan. 15 – OTT 4 – 1 MTL
Feb. 18 – OTT 4 – 2 MTL
Mar. 12 – OTT 5 – 2 MTL
Five Canadian teams qualified for the 2014-15 playoffs and this is one of two match ups where we will see two Canadian teams go head-to-head.
This is an intriguing matchup to say the least. Carey Price, who has arguably been the best player in the NHL this season will match-up against 27-year-old Andrew Hammond, who was unknown when he was recalled in mid-February.
Hammond had below average numbers with Binghamton (AHL). He was 7-13-2 with a 3.51 GAA and .898 SV% at the time of his call-up. However he was a changed man once he got to the NHL…The Hamburglar. He has gone 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 SV% in the first 23 stars of his NHL career. Despite the historic run of excellence, the Canadiens still have a clear advantage in goal. Price has the Vezina Trophy on lockdown. He led the NHL in Wins (44), GAA (1.96) and SV% (.933).
While the Habs have the scale tipping in their favour in goal, they have leaned heavily on Price all season long because they were in the bottom third in the league in scoring. One key to the series will be when/if Montreal gets Max Pacioretty (upper-body) back. He was a full participant in practice on Monday, but still has not been cleared to play. Pacioretty leads the Canadiens with 37 goals and they will have a tough time scoring if he can’t play. With Max’s status in doubt, the Habs need players like Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher to step up .
Coming into the playoffs, no one wanted to face the Senators. They went on a miraculous run that got them into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Since February 18th the Senators have gone 21-3-4 and have scored 2.96 goals per game, while only giving up 1.92 goals per contest over that span.
This series features two of the NHL’s most gifted offensive defensemen. Erik Karlsson led all blue liners with 66 points (21G / 45A), but was followed closely by P.K Subban who had 60 points (15G / 45A) of his own. Even with these two guys, neither team had a good power-play this season, so the special teams will play a huge factor in this series. If one team can get their power-play going, that should be the difference.
This wouldn’t be a series preview without mentioning Senators’ rookie sensation, Mark Stone. He comes in as one of the hottest players in the NHL and he put on a show in the last two weeks of the regular season. He scored eight goals with five assists (13 points) in the final nine games of the year and he makes for a great option in playoff pools.
Ultimately I think the Senators are coming into the postseason on such a roll that they will be able to up-end the top-seeded Canadiens, who will have a difficult time finding offence.
Series Prediction: Senators win in 6
Leading Scorer: Erik Karlsson
Series X-Factor: Alex Galchenyuk
Other Eastern Conference Series Previews: