In a game which likely didn't surprise a lot of people with its outcome, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 to win the quarterfinal series by 4 games to 1 tonight. The score reflected the play of the two goaltenders, Ottawa's Craig Anderson playing a superb game once more, stopping 33 of 34 shots, while his counterpart, Peter Budaj (playing in place of the injured Carey Price), was less than stellar in the Montreal net.
The Sens opened a 2-0 lead quickly in the first period, but Montreal halved the score near the end of the period with a power play goal. A strange goal in the second period gave the Sens a bigger lead. Kyle Turris gave Ottawa a 3-1 lead shorthanded at 11:29 of the second frame. The Sens centre was pushed into Budaj by Tomas Plekanec and was on his hands and knees in the crease when an Eric Condra shot went in off his arm, and it rightly stood up to video review. Daniel Alfredsson scored a third period power play goal to put Ottawa up 4-1, and two more power play goals set the final score of 6-1 into place. Craig Anderson was the hero of this game, keeping the Senators in it in the first period until they opened the scoring, and continued his rock solid play with the assistance of a goal post or two. Montreal seemed lifeless and defeated in the third period, and the game wound down without any real panache on the part of the Habs, who were roundly saluted and cheered by the fans at the end of the game.
In many ways, the Sens were lucky to win this series, let alone any games in it. Craig Anderson stole the series for Ottawa with stellar goaltending, and the Montreal offense couldn't solve the Sens goalie. Carey Price played less than inspired with the exception of Game 2 in Montreal, though he had a solid outing in Game 4 as well, despite the overtime loss with Peter Budaj in goal. That said, the Ottawa forwards generated a lot of offense, the defense was solid and gave out some solid hits, and kept the Montreal forwards in relative check. Montreal deserves a lot of credit for playing the game with five (?) of their key players missing, but the last two games showed that the Habs do not have the depth of their farm system when the injuries started to pile up. A situation that the Sens found themselves in for most of the strike-shortened season with many of their key players out.
A lot of stuff will be said about this Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators series in the various media, but when all is said and done, it came down to the Senators composure versus the Habs emotional outbursts, and Craig Anderson versus Carey Price/Peter Budaj.
Who does Ottawa meet in the second round of the playoffs? Still to be decided, but it's likely to be the Pittsburgh Penguins, unless the New York Islanders pull off a miracle upset in that series. Then it's anyone's guess as to who Ottawa will meet in the next round.
Meanwhile, Go, Sens, Go!!