Skip to content

Five Q’s: Canadiens-Senators preview

May 2, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 13: Goalie Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a save as teammate Josh Gorges #26 and Guillaume Latendresse #73 of the Ottawa Senators look for a rebound during the NHL game on March 13, 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Can Carey Price pull it together?

Price got off to a fantastic start this season, but has been on the decline ever since. Among goaltenders that got at least eight starts in April, only two finished with worse GAA’s than Price’s 3.49. No team can get particularly far in the playoffs without good goaltending — just ask the 2012 Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers — and Montreal isn’t above that. On the plus side, no playoff team scored fewer goals in the regular season than the Sens, and Price was strong against them in the regular season. Perhaps this series is just what he needs to bounce back.

2. What should we expect from Erik Karlsson?

Karlsson playing just two months after cutting his Achilles tendon was surprising, but the fact that he logged over 27 minutes in all three of his games since his return was miraculous. The Sens’ defenseman had four assists over that span. It’s worth noting that New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac, who suffered a similar injury, urged Karlsson not to return so soon while another player that’s been through the same thing, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo, predicted that Karlsson would come back stronger than ever. Either way, the Senators aren’t putting any meaningful limits on his playing time and they’re a far more dangerous team now that he’s back.

3. Will Ottawa need Craig Anderson to be brilliant?

Even with the return of Karlsson, the Senators aren’t a team that can win a lot of high-scoring affairs. The Senators were an anemic 27th in the NHL when it came to goals scored per game. Still, if Anderson plays anything like he did in the regular season, that might not be an issue. He missed 18 games in the middle of the season due to a sprained ankle, but stayed strong in his return, finishing first among netminders with a 1.69 GAA and .941 save percentage. The wild card in all of this is goaltender Robin Lehner. The ideal for the Senators would be for the 21-year-old rookie to just observe this series from the bench, but Lehner has been great this season and if Anderson falters, he should be seen as a viable Plan B.

4. Montreal PP or Ottawa PK?

The Ottawa Senators are one of the most undisciplined teams in the NHL, but they could get away with that in the regular season because they also killed penalties better than any other team. When they play Montreal though, they might pay for those mistakes. The Canadiens have gone from one of the worst power-play teams in 2011-12 to the fifth best this season. Getting defenseman Andrei Markov back for a full season after battling knee problems was a huge boost. Markov and fellow Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban have been two of the league’s most successful players with the man advantage.

5. Will the Sens actually get an advantage at home?

When the Senators hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 20, Senators coach Paul MacLean joked that his goal was to “take the crowd out of it” early, according to The Globe and Mail. The Senators have long struggled to keep fans of opposing loyalties out of their stadium for home games. Given the relative proximity of Montreal, you can bet there will be plenty of Habs fans invading Scotiabank Place to cheer passionately for the visitors.

For all the first-round playoff previews, click here.

Latest Posts
  1. Sharks go on the attack, defeat Kings in Game 1

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One Getty Images

    Things got interesting in the third period.

  2. Video: Stastny scores late to send Avalanche-Wild to OT

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:41 AM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Colorado erases two-goal deficit to send it to extra time.

  3. Update: Jay Bouwmeester likely not be injured

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    It at least seems like Jonathan Toews is shaking off bumps and bruises.

  4. Video: Sharks’ Brown runs Voynov into Quick, scrum ensues

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:22 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 8.18.27 PM

    These teams don’t like each other.

  5. Video: Hjalmarsson lands big hit on Backes

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:58 PM EDT

    hjar AP

    The Blues forward is usually the aggressor.

  6. Sharks scratch Havlat in Game 1 against Kings

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT

    martinhavlatgetty Getty Images

    Opting to go with Mike Brown instead.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche (Game 1)

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:26 PM EDT

    Patrick Roy AP

    Did you hear Patrick Roy’s playing career ended against the Wild?

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4357)
  2. T. Oshie (3683)
  3. M. Duchene (3569)
  4. B. Bishop (3018)
  5. H. Zetterberg (2815)
  1. P. Bergeron (2757)
  2. D. Backes (2694)
  3. V. Tarasenko (2681)
  4. M. Brodeur (2509)
  5. O. Palat (2366)