May 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM #52083
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
The Montreal Canadiens return home down 3-1 in their Eastern Conference quarter-final series with the Ottawa Senators. If this wasn’t a rivalry before this series started it certainly is now – frequent sniping between the teams on and off the ice has characterized one of the most contentious matchups in the playoffs to date. Montreal has been the better team for a good portion of this series but bad breaks, injuries and some questionable goaltending at times has them in a deep hole heading into Thursday night.
The Ottawa Senators are doing and saying all the right things ahead of Game 5 – they certainly aren’t taking this elimination game for granted – the Habs will come to play and the hostile crowd figured to make things a little more difficult on the Sens. Ottawa was largely outplayed for the majority of Game 4 but recorded the victory after a disputed goal and an overtime winner against Montreal’s backup keeper.
Ottawa is averaging a very good 3.5 goals per game so far. Daniel Alfredsson has led the way with four points in the last two games, defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson each have three points in the last two games, Marc Methot has four points in four games and agitator Chris Neal has also been solid – 2 points in his last 2 games.
When the offense isn’t quite holding up their end of the bargain it has been Craig Anderson that has held the Senators in games. The Habs are averaging 36.5 shots per game in the series but Anderson has been very solid. He is 3-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA and terrific .945 save percentage and he has been drastically outplaying his counterpart Carey Price.
The Habs are in some trouble heading into Thursday night’s game! Goaltender Carey Price is listed as day to day with a lower body injury, while Brandon Prust and Ryan White are out with upper body injuries. Captain Brian Gionta, who missed Game 2 and Game 4, will undergo surgery Friday for a torn bicep tendon and is done for the season. Lars Eller skated Wednesday but he can’t be counted on for Thursday night’s contest. Obviously Montreal won’t have all hands on deck for the most important game of their season.
Even if Carey Price plays Thursday, he has been out of sorts – a 4.00 GAA and .871 save percentage in his last two games. But he is not the only Canadiens struggling heading into Game 5. Colby Armstrong and Max Pacioretty are pointless in three games, and Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz have yet to record a point in the series.
There is a lot going against Montreal ahead of Game 5 – their trick will be to take a page out of Ottawa’s book on how to deal with incredible adversity!
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Under is 13-3-2 in OTT last 18 Thu. games.
• Under is 6-2 in OTT last 8 road games.
• Under is 34-13-11 in OTT last 58 overall.
• Under is 9-3 in MON last 12 home games.
• Over is 6-2 in MON last 8 Thu. games.
• Over is 8-3-2 in MON last 13 overall.
• Home team is 10-1 in the last 11 meetings.
There hasn’t been a whole lot that has gone right for the Montreal Canadiens in this series. The injury bug has hit at precisely the wrong time for Montreal to add to the lack of breaks and the unreliable goaltending situation. You can see the frustration on the ice and in the post-game media scrums in Montreal – at least the Habs won’t have to deal with it again until September! The Canadiens are done.
Pick: Ottawa Senators +114
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