Despite being deep in enemy territory tonight, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Cory Conacher and the Ottawa Senators made short work of the Montreal Canadiens as they win Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals 6-1, capturing the series 4-1.
The Senators have virtually dominated the Habs this series, outscoring them by a difference of 20-9. One of the standouts of this series has been former Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Cory Conacher. In the 4 games he suited up for this series, Conacher has 3 goals, 2 of those tonight, and a plus-2 rating.
Another standout of the series has been the Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. In the 5 games this series, he has netted 2 goals and 4 assists for a total of 6 points, and a plus-5 rating. Along those same lines is defenseman Erik Karlsson. In 5 games, he has one goal and 5 assists for a total of 6 points, also with a plus-5 rating.
Not long after the win tonight, the players started to hit Twitter to give their thoughts on the series. Center Zack Smith, who had the opening goal in tonight’s game, had nothing but good things to say about his team, but one player in particular stood out.
Craig Anderson, who missed 18 games during the regular season due to injury, has been just short of perfect. Anderson stopped 171 of 180 Shots on Goal for a 1.8 Goals Against Average and a Save Percentage of .950. He led the NHL during the regular season in both the Save % and GAA, a trend which seems to be continuing into the Post Season. Anderson currently leads the NHL in Save Percentage, and is third in GAA. He is surpassed only by Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks with 1.39 and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings with 1.69, respectively.
The rivalry between the Senators and the Canadiens is definitely one for the ages. So much so that penalties have been the name of the game this series.
In this 5 game series between the two Canadian teams there were a grand total, you may want to brace yourselves, of 347 minutes in penalties. That is 5.78 hours in Penalty minutes. The most amazing thing about this whole situation is that 68% of those penalty minutes were from just one game. That game would be Game 3 in Ottawa. Game 3 saw a total of 236 penalty minutes between the two teams; 129 to Montreal and 107 to Ottawa. There were a total of 11, yes 11, misconduct penalties between the two teams; 6 to Montreal and 5 to Ottawa.
Did you happen to miss this penalty fest? No worries. The video below shows you the broad strokes of the night.
When you split the numbers, Montreal had a total of 185 penalty minutes throughout the series; Ottawa with 162. Was the difference in penalty minutes the deciding factor in the series? Maybe, maybe not. However, I can tell you that from where I am sitting, Montreal let their emotions get the best of them, and that may very well have been their downfall. When you have players like P.K. Subban, who is one of the Habs leading goal scorers in the post season, getting an average of one penalty a night, with the climax being the dreaded Game 3 where he sat 25 minutes, it leaves holes open in the defense that sometimes cannot be filled.
Another unfortunate circumstance that certainly did not help the Canadiens is the amount of injuries the team was dealing with during the series. Already down captain Brian Gionta, Lars Eller, Ryan White, and Brandon Prust, the sudden injury to starting goaltender Carey Price may have tipped the scales.. On Thursday, the team announced that he would miss the remainder of the Ottawa series with a lower body injury.
One thing can be said about this rollercoaster series is that there was never a dull moment. It is yet to be determined who the Senators next series will be against, but one can only hope that it is as exciting as their series against the Canadiens.
There is one thing that I want the entire Bolts Nation to think about. With the new NHL Realignment taking effect next season, the Ottawa Senators will now be in the same division as our beloved Tampa Bay Lightning. This playoff series could give us an insight into what we will be dealing with next season. As I have said many times before, it is never too early to start getting ready for next season.
Are you excited to see the Sens advance to Round 2, or were you hoping that the Habs would pull out a win? Who else are you rooting for this round? What do you think is going to be the big story in the next round? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.