Round 1 Game 3 Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators

While you never want to lose a game in a playoff series, coming back to home ice with a series split still puts Ottawa in a favorable position. Home ice has been the teams bread and butter this season. After a few mistakes, sloppy bases and unlucky bounces, the boys walk back into the familiar settings of ScotiaBank Place and aim for their second series lead.

Playoff Seed: 7

VS

Playoff Seed: 2

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM

TV: CBC, Radio: Team 1200

THE MATCHUP

Game 2 was all about the overcoming and using of raw emotion. The Canadiens came out charged up, and it shows directly from the puck drop. While Ottawa did a good job keeping them to the outside and out of harm, an unlucky string in the second period undid them. A bad, defensive, cross net pass was tipped in giving the Canadiens a 1-0 lead, which they would double up shortly after. It was the type of series of play that deflates the tires of an entire team. Carey Price stood on his head exactly when he was needed to and based on third period play, stole this game for the Canadiens.

May 2, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; NHL linesman Derek Arnell (75) separates Ottawa Senators right wing Chris Neil (25) and Montreal Canadiens right wing Bredan Gallagher (11) during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – OTT – JPG has been flying out on the ice for the Sens in all of his time with the big club. So far, he hasn’t seemed out of place one bit. His size may be a hindrance for him, as it was an ineffective check from JPG that led to the Canadiens taking a stronger lead in Game 2. Look for Pageau to bounce back, and have a breakout game tonight.

Brendan Gallagher – MTL – Gallagher has done exactly what he needs to do in this series. He has put players off their games, and it is working. Not only is he being a pest of extreme levels, he is being effective and getting under the skin of Ottawa players. They need to find a way to marginalize him, or this play will continue throughout the series.

 

3 STORYLINES

1 – Back at home: Ottawa has played fantastic on home ice this year, ending with one of the best records to date. As long as the Spartan stays hidden away the crowd should be a must needed boost to a team that has looked a little tired throughout the series.

2 – The Goalie Duel: A tooth for a tooth so far in this series. Game 1 has Price allowing some goals he’d like back, and Game 2 had the ame for Craig Anderson. Look for both tobe sharpening their performance here, but this series may come down to which goal has more of an off night each game.

3 – Not So Special Teams: The Ottawa powerplay just has not been clicking. And that statement is possibly the understatement of the year. The last 2 games setting up hasn’t been the only problem, the team can’t even muster zone entrance. This is a situation that needs to be solved, and immediately if the team wants to stay competitive in this series.

PARTING SHOT

After the Eric Gryba suspension of Game 1, the Senators looked very hesitant in engaging in game 2. Worst of all, it showed, and Montreal took advantage of it. The team looked like they were getting a little bullied, and allowed the Canadien to run around with them a little bit. Putting Matt Kassian in the lineup was not the answer, he isn’t working as a Nuclear Deterrent, the boys just need to get back into this series physically. The best revenge isn’t putting out your Hulks that won’t put up goals. The team needs to beat them to the puck and let their clowns make fools of themselves.

And as always, GO SENS GO!

 

Topics: Bryan Murray, Craig Anderson, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Ottawa Senators, Playoffs, Stanley Cup 2013

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