Despite the destruction of an encompassing amount of injuries, the Ottawa Senators find themselves playing in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. With Craig Anderson, Erik Karlsson, Jared Cowen, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek missing a majority of the season due to a varying degree of impairment, the Senators 2013 campaign appeared destined for lottery contention.
While things became complicated towards the end of the year, the team managed to hang around in the playoff picture to complete an astounding run at the second season.
The Montreal Canadiens finished 2011-12 as the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Coming into the season without fanfare or expectation, the team managed to capture the Northeast Division crown. However, the division championship was not flawless and the Canadiens' fantastic start to 2013 was tempered by a sluggish finish.
Entering the postseason on a two-game winning streak, Les Habitants will attempt to reestablish their early season form in hopes of completing an extended playoff run.
During the four-game season series, each club recorded a regulation and shootout win with the home team earning two points in each game. Montreal successfully converted on 20 percent of their power play opportunities, while Ottawa scored on an astounding 41.6 percent of their man-advantages.
1. Will special teams alter the result of Game 1?
Considering how successful Ottawa was on the power play during the season series, it seems like they could. Montreal finished the year with a top-five ranked power play (20.7 percent), while Ottawa finished ranked 20th (15.9 percent). Of course, considering Karlsson missed 31 games due to a lacerated Achilles tendon, it wouldn't be a stretch to believe the unit suffered because of that event.
2. Will P.K. Subban or Karlsson do anything of note in Game 1?
Arguably two of the best young defensemen in the game today, Karlsson and Subban are capable of impacting a game. With that in mind, we're interested in learning whether they will rise to the occasion on Thursday night.
3. Will the home team continue the trend of winning in this series?
Over four games, the home team has won every game. This leaves it to the Canadiens to keep the trend alive. Will they?