In Ottawa they’re linking Craig Anderson’s name to the Hart Trophy, but my money is on Carey Price to handle Ottawa’s pop-gun offence and lead the Canadiens past the Senators in six games.
Some basic math for you: the Sens have a grand total of three players with 10 or more goals on their roster. The Canadiens have eight.
Yes, the Sens have some impressive rookies in their lineup, including the likes of Jakob Silfberberg and his 10 goals. But Brendan Gallagher is the rookie I’m going to watch out for in this series. Yes, Alex Galchenyuk has raised some eyebrows with his play of late after going through a pretty lean stretch during his rookie season. But Gallagher has the potential to be a game-changer in the playoffs, and I expect him to be just that.
In fact, Gallagher and Galchenyuk have been among the more impressive forwards on this Habs’ team of late, along with Lars Eller, who has gone through an amazing transformation this season.
Less impressive, however, have been Michael Ryder, who looks like the old Michael Ryder, and Rene Bourque, who looks like the old Rene Bourque. I expect Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta to step up and deliver what we expect from these two veterans. I’m trying to wrap my head around what we might expect to see from Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais.
Physically, you know that Brandon Prust will deliver, provided his body can take the beating that it will take during the playoffs. However, I will say this. As much I like Brandon Prust, I LOVE Chris Neil. That guy is a war horse. I want him on my team, but alas, I can’t have him.
On the blueline, all eyes will be on PK Subban and Erik Karlsson. However, overall, I give the slight edge to Ottawa’s defence, that includes wily veterans like the ageless Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips. Andrei Markov is absolutely going to have to find his second wind and Jarred Tinordi is going to have to use that 6-6 frame of his, like he means it.
Which brings us to the goaltenders: Carey Price and Craig Anderson. For as much grief as Price has taken as a result of his recent play, I like Price over Anderson in this series.
I just do.
And I like the Habs in six.