For me, the biggest difference between the regular season and the playoffs is that in the postseason, you're seeing the same players and systems for up to seven consecutive games, which gives the edge to a structure-driven team like Montreal. That's without taking into account that Hammond is playing at an unsustainable level in every statistical category. Canadiens in 6 games
I admire the streak. I love hamburgers. But I also admire what the Montreal Canadiens have done this season. They have been consistent all year, with their worst losing streaks being no more than three games (five times this year).The will to win seems to be there, although the Habs are facing an opponent coming into the playoffs hotter than an asteroid in atmospheric entry moving at supersonic speed.
It is a possibility for Andrew Hammond to run away with this series, or for Mark Stone to continue dominating and scoring timely goals. I may end up eating a huge bowl of Frosted SensFlakes. But what makes me lean this way is my belief in Carey Price. He's not going to let himself down in this series, or his teammates. They won't let him down either. It's an effect that unique circumstances, like the playoffs, brings out in a competitive atmosphere as intense as this.
The games will be close (get out your beta blockers), but I think the Habs have the edge to overtake Ottawa slightly in every game except maybe one or two. Canadiens in 5 games
Montreal tries to out-muscle the Senators in Game One and suffers a multiple goal defeat as a result. The loss of home ice advantage has Habs media writing stories about Ottawa's momentum from their regular season run and why playing at a playoff level prior to the start of the post-season had them better prepared.
Montreal changes tactics and decides to absorb the hits and focus on making plays up the ice — as they have in recent seasons versus the Bruins — and tie the series up at one in a close game.
The strategy continues to work and Montreal takes back control of the series as the Senators come down from the peak they needed to get into the playoffs. The Habs go up 3-1 before Ottawa wins one final game in their Cinderella season before being eliminated in Game Six. Candiens in 6 games
Andrew Hammond remembers he is Andrew Hammond, but the Sens remain enamoured with him. Pacioretty returns to health for game 2 or 3 and Price remains Price. The only concern I have is the depth forwards, but Eller has been stellar lately and his strong play will be a huge boost. Canadiens in 6 games