The National Hockey League season ended last night, with the Pittsburgh Penguins winning their second championship in as many years. For Pens fans, it was a moment to savour. For fans of other teams, the reaction was more like “finally, it’s over!” It’s time to dream anew of what next season might bring.
Following the Ottawa Senators’ Game 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, some media pundits – Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry chief among them – strongly suggested that the Ottawa Senators should move away from the tight-checking style that got them to the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and start attacking the hobbled Pittsburgh Penguins defence.
The Ottawa Senators might still be considered underdogs in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but their Game 1 victory Saturday night has put them in the driver’s seat.
Of all the series I’ve attempted to predict thus far, this one might be the toughest. On the surface, this should be a rout: The Penguins are the defending Stanley Cup champions, they have the best centre in the world in Sidney Crosby, and they just knocked off the top team in the NHL this season, the Washington Capitals.
The Ottawa Senators are off to a fantastic start this season, riding exceptional goaltending and timely scoring to a 16-9-2 record, good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division. Even more impressive, they’ve done it despite the deep, deep struggles of former top sniper Bobby Ryan.
If the Ottawa Senators are to mount another miracle comeback and qualify for the playoffs this season, they’ll need to win pretty much every game against their fellow bubble teams the rest of the way. Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes: Check. Alex Chiasson, Zack Smith, Cody Ceci and Mark Stone scored to lead the…
Around this time last season, I wrote a column for the Ottawa Citizen in which I fearlessly predicted that there was no way the Ottawa Senators were going to make the playoffs. I like to make predictions based on probabilities, not eyeball tests or the sacrosanct opinions of “Hockey People,” who often get a free…