To paraphrase a great film, Game 3 of the Canadiens-Senators series sure escalated quickly.
The game summary sheets from that violent, unhinged, controversial game will be keepsakes for quite some time. The ratings for the game were the highest of the series in Canada, and tied for the highest-rated game of the playoffs on cable in the United States. Everyone was talking about the Habs-Sens brawls on Monday across North America. Now, however, we have to find a way to move on, and the two teams have to find a way to move on. This is still a Stanley Cup Playoff series.
For the Canadiens, it's a series that they won't be in much longer if they play a few more like they did in Game 3. The Senators were the better team for good portions of Game 3, despite being outshot. Their offense was flying at times, and Craig Anderson was in the zone. The Habs gave away the puck 13 times, and Carey Price looked downright normal. They are another bad game away from being on the brink. However, they can go back to Montreal tied if they forget Game 3 ever happened.
The Senators just need to stay on their game. The controversy over Paul MacLean's late third period timeout showed that the Sens are obviously in the Habs heads right now, especially given Montreal coach Michel Therien's reaction to the whole thing. They are playing well, but can obviously play a little better. You're not likely to get six on Carey Price in two straight games, so things have to tighten up.
Will there be any carry over from Game 3 to start Game 4?
You'd have to think this is what's on everyone's mind, from players to fans to (well, duh) media. All the fighting and controversy and penalties from Game 3, 210 in period three alone. It was clearly meant to do the classic "message sending" which is why we have to watch dumb stuff like this. Will the message have been fully sent on Sunday night, or will we see more potential on-ice roustabouts in Game 4?
Which Carey Price will show up?
Carey Price faced 30 shots apiece on Friday in Game 2 and Sunday in Game 3. On Friday, he stopped 29 of the shots levied against him. On Sunday, he stopped 24. On Friday, the Canadiens won rather easily. On Sunday, they were blown out of the barn by the third period. Overstating the obvious, it is imperative that Carey Price play well if the Habs want a shot to salvage this thing.
Can the Senators continue to find offensive heroes?
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had never scored a playoff goal before his Game 3 hat trick. Without Jason Spezza, and with Daniel Alfredsson not necessarily someone you can rely on to puck the puck in the back of the net every game anymore (though he did score in Game 3), the Sens have had to do it by committee in this series. If they keep doing it, they'll have a pretty good shot at wrapping this up quickly.
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
National TV: CBC, RDS, CNBC