Share “Canadiens face Senators in 1st-round matchup”

Canadiens face Senators in 1st-round matchup

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm •  Published: April 29, 2013

As for the hockey, it isn't likely to be the most physical series, but should be a close one between two clubs who each went 2-1-1 against the other this season.

However, the Senators were missing key players for much of the season in Anderson and defensemen Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen — who all recently returned to the lineup — and still-sidelined center Jason Spezza.

Ottawa was able to win enough to make the playoffs for a second year in a row by playing a tight, patient game, staying inside their system and jumping on opponents' mistakes.

Montreal has three scoring lines and the league's fourth-best power play (20.7 percent) built around point men Subban and Andrei Markov, although Ottawa counters with the NHL's best penalty-killing unit (88 percent).

"It's going to be a series of mistakes," Subban said. "Both teams have systems in place and they execute them well.

"It'll be who can execute better and who is more disciplined. They've got a good power play and we've shown we can have a good one at times. For us right now it's about being focused and staying on task."

Karlsson emerged as a star last season when he won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman and his return from a skate cut is a huge boost to Ottawa's attack, especially on the power play.

In his absence, Subban has become a Norris candidate with 11 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Much attention has already turned to how that matchup will play out.

"Erik's a great player and I'm sure he'd say the same thing — this series isn't going to be decided by two players," Subban said. "He's a great talent and it's good to see that he's back in the game.

"People pay a lot of money and they want to see the best players in the world and he's one of them, so to get a player like that back will make the series more interesting. But it's not P.K. Subban against Erik Karlsson."

It may turn out to be Anderson against Carey Price, however, as goalies are sure to play a big role in the series.

Price is coming off his toughest stretch of the season, when he lost six of seven games, was pulled twice, and looked to have lost his confidence.

He bounced back with a win in Winnipeg last week, and backup Peter Budaj picked up the regular season-ending victory in Toronto on Saturday night.

Asked how he felt going in, Price said: "It's good. Obviously we didn't have a bright stretch there, but we played two pretty solid games in the last two and we have to be fairly confident going into the playoffs."