Living close to Montreal and having access to French and English media gave me a lot of opportunity to get all the vibes surrounding the first round series between the Habs and the Senators. There is not much rivalry between those two teams. That may change now that they are facing each other in the playoffs for the first time since the ”return” of the Senators 20 years ago. The big talk now is how will Carey Price handle the pressure for the Canadiens and both coaches have been talking about toughness and hitting making the difference. Chris Neil could become the most hated player at Bell Centre after Chara. He will be on a mission. Montreal is counting on Prust for that. The PK vs EK confrontation has been brought up. Both coaches have admitted that both teams are alike. Well structured. Good defense, Good balance. The advantage may be with Montreal for the 4 lines though. That is the main reason they finished 2nd in the East. Defensively I would give the edge to Ottawa and goaltending. I predict Price will crumble. I like him. It’s just too much pressure for him to handle right now and he did not finish the season very strong. He was not even in the net against the Leafs last Saturday. He was in the bad mood with the reporters the day after. Not the best scenario. The Senators have Karlsson back and Spezza may get back too. Great PK% for the Sens and same for the Habs but on the PP. The Senators can frustrate teams. I have a bad feeling for the team my friends adore here in Habsland.
Prediction: Ottawa in 6.
Supper time is coming and hockey is on soon so I will make it brief for the other series starting this evening. The Rangers are not the same team they were a year ago. They were solid as rock last year. This year their record and consistency did improve as the season went but they made the playoffs by playing 7 of their last 8 games vs opponents in the bottom 8. That is where the Caps come in with Ovechkin. He has a lot to prove still in the playoffs. He wants to win it all as well. Mike Greene has 11 points in is last 8 games. Holtby was hot in the playoffs last season in the net. The Caps are getting in the playoffs red hot.
Prediction: Washington in 7.