Edit because apparently the Sens aren't the first team, but the second? Oops! The articles I read stated that they were first. My mistake!
The Ottawa Senators overcame a ghastly number of injuries to key players during the regular season to make the playoffs as the seventh seed, and have now managed to prevail over the second-seeded Montreal Canadiens to move on to the second round. The Senators advanced after a 6-1 victory in Game 5 on Thursday night.
The Sens took advantage of shaky goaltending from Canadiens netminder, Peter Budaj, who struggled Thursday at home in his first career NHL playoff start.
Bad goaltending was the theme for Montreal in this series. After stellar performances against Ottawa during the regular season, Carey Price was average in Games 1 to 4 and Budaj never looked comfortable in the Canadiens' net in Game 5.
At the other end, Senators' goaltender Craig Anderson was solid again as the Canadiens came out buzzing around his net. He made several good saves early, including a glove stop off Rene Bourque, one of the Canadiens' best players in the series.
The series win was a first for many on the Senators, including Anderson, Kyle Turris and several other young players.
"It feels like a big relief. I knew it was eventually going to come you just didn't know when," said Anderson, 31. “It's a credit to our team in there and what kind of group of guys we have … Everybody pulling on the rope in the same direction."
It was an all-Canadian matchup filled with drama, even though it only lasted five games. For Senators head coach Paul MacLean, it was a difficult battle that means a lot to him.
“We just beat the Montreal Canadiens. To me that's huge. I gotta call my mom and tell her we beat her team," said MacLean, who won his first playoff series as an NHL head coach.
The series win, the franchise's first since 2007, signalled a new era of Ottawa Senators success.
"We really changed the makeup of the whole team and (we're) going in a new direction. Last year was a great learning curve just to get into the playoffs for a lot of the guys," said Alfredsson, the Senators' 40-year-old captain. “Now building on that … we're not going to be pretty every night but we seem to find a way and we always believe."
This is truly an amazing feat, considering what they've been through this entire season. Also, congrats to the other teams who have made it to round two!
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