Crosby returned to the lineup in the second game of the series against the Islanders, and he scored nine points in five games. However, Crosby was not the dominant player that fans are used to seeing.
He may be back in top form against the Senators, dominating in the offensive zone and creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
In the final game against the Islanders, Malkin showed his all-around skill when he put his body in front of a shot that could have given the Islanders a one-goal lead late in the third period. Malkin appeared completely engaged in that game.
If he continues to play with that kind of commitment, it is difficult to conceive of the Senators slowing him down.
The best offensive defenseman in the league made it back from a torn Achilles in the final days of the regular season. He had one goal and five assists against the Canadiens, and his creativity and offensive instincts make the Senators a much more formidable team.
NHL history is littered with stories of young players who are brought up at the start of the playoffs to give their team a lift. Pageau appears to be filling that role for the Senators. He scored three goals and had two assists in the five-game victory over the Canadiens.
Pageau accelerates well with the puck on his stick, and he will go into the prime goal-scoring areas. He can be an X-factor for the Senators in this series.