Senators News: May 10th; Ottawa 6 Montreal 1

-Ottawa beat Montreal 6-1 last night to close out the series and move on to the second round.  Craig Anderson made 33 saves for the win, while Cory Conacher (2), Zack Smith, Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson, and Erik Condra scored the goals.  The Habs dominated the first period, but fell behind 2-1 regardless.  Just like in the last game, Ottawa slowly took control of the play and ran over the Habs in the third period (Matt Kassian finished the game on the powerplay and had two assists in the game!).  I thought there might be a chippy ending in a lopsided victory, but the Habs simply had nothing left to give by the end.  Here’s the boxscore.

-I think Erik Condra summed up last night (and the series) succinctly:

Until we get going, he [Anderson] has kept us in games and that’s all a credit to him.

-Speaking of Anderson, he said all the right things after the victory:

I can’t do it alone. I can’t score goals. I can’t be the guy that wins game for the team. The team has got to win games for each other. That feels good.

Sylvain St-Laurent offers his views of the series as a whole and believes game three was a watershed moment–Ottawa winning the kind of gritty game they never have before in the playoffs.

Mark Parisi offers up his summation of the series and among his “what went wrong” notes I’ll quibble with one: variable intensity.  For the first time that I can remember there was no questioning the intensity the Sens brought throughout each and every game.  From Mark’s specific comments I think he’s actually referring to the quality of their play, but to me that’s quite distinctive from playing intensely.

Allan Muir thought that when it mattered most–in the third periods–the Sens dominated and that in the end that made them the better and more deserving team.

Varada‘s post-mortem’s includes the spot-on point that Michel Therrien did himself and his reputation no favours.  Initially I thought Therrien was effective in deflecting criticism of his team by creating a sideshow, but eventually that sideshow overwhelmed everything else and created a conduit for excuses.  Even in defeat Therrian couldn’t help himself, making an excuse before saying he wasn’t making excuses:

The last two weeks we had a lot of bad luck. My approach with the team and our approach since day one [has been injuries] are not an excuse. I don’t think the players with their attitude used that as an excuse.

Calling anything bad luck is making an excuse.  It’s not like a single play determined the series, so luck shouldn’t be a factor.  Andrei Markov‘s comments seem a lot more sensible:

Yeah we played hard and sometimes we played better than them, but the final score is we lost the series. We can only blame ourselves.

Postmedia News credits the Sens goaltending and depth for winning them the series.

-The Sens might get Jason Spezza back for the second round.  Spezza is now practicing with the black aces, but there’s no time table for his return to action.  It’s exciting news for Ottawa, but even a fully healthy roster is going to struggle against the juggernaut that is the Pittsburgh Penguins (their most likely opponent).

Steve Simmons speculates that Hockey Night in Canada won’t be happy if the Sens are the only Canadian team to make it to the second round (as seems likely).  I think he’s right, but that’s largely because HNIC has made no investment in Ottawa, approaching the team with distasteful indifference.

-The NHL is trying to finalize a transfer agreement with the various professional leagues, with the KHL (as usual) posing the biggest stumbling block.

-In unsurprising news, the NHL is nearing an agreement for their players to participate in the Olympics.  I’ve never doubted that would happen and it appears as though the formal arrangement will soon be made.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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