The NHL playoffs started last night and I watched the opening games from my hotel room in Buffalo. While I will call the Buffalo/Boston series for HNIC, the Senators opened up against the Pens with a 5-4 win. Some shaky goaltending at both ends and Ottawa doing a very good job at closing gaps and jumping up into the play. With a team like the Penguins, laying back and trying to defend is a quick way to lose.
Ottawa is certainly the underdog in this series, but it’s probably the toughest series to predict. A bunch of us were throwing some ideas around and realized that Ottawa sweeping Pittsburgh is a legitimate possibility. Pittsburgh sweeping Ottawa (which is now impossible) was also just as legitimate. This series going the full 7 games is also very easy to envision. The Senators have been so streaky this year that it makes it hard to handicap this thing.
When Ottawa has been hot this year, there is no team they have been unable to beat. When the Senators have been cold, they have been ice cold and at times looked like they couldn’t win a practice. So what will happen in this series?
I have no clue. I only know how tired Pittsburgh must be after playing more games than any team in the last 2 years. I also know how much it would mean to the Senators and the city if they can rebound from missing the playoffs to upsetting the defending champs in round #1.
See you at the rink.