Many might be disappointed that the Montreal Canadiens are facing the Ottawa Senators instead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, but hockey fans nationwide need not worry. They can still meet this postseason.
Granted, that in part involves the Leafs upsetting the Big, Bad Bruins, but weirder things have happened…like both the Leafs and Habs making the playoffs to begin with. Well, let’s be honest: even just the Leafs.
Still, for this supposed dream matchup to become a reality, the Habs also have their end of the bargain to hold up as well. Despite what most fans would like to believe, a first-round victory is far from guaranteed.
While analysts agree the Habs match up way better against the Sens than the much bigger rival Leafs, look at the facts:
- The Sens have just gotten Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson back from injury. The Habs have P.K. Subban, who might win a Norris Trophy this year.
- The Sens are without their No. 1 center, Jason Spezza. The Habs don’t have a No. 1 center at all.
- The Sens have a No. 1 goaltender who up until recently was just a backup. The Habs have a No. 1 goalie who recently began playing like a backup.
All that being said, the Habs are undeniably favorites in this series, and here are the five key ways they will move on to the second round: