National Hockey League fans, strap yourselves in – this could be feisty. The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens have a fiery rivalry, enhanced by the fact that they both compete in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
Ottawa have acquired seven points through six NHL games, winning their last two before an extended early season break. The Senators will be quietly confident of adding another win to their record when Montreal visit Canadian Tire Centre this weekend.
However, defeating the Canadiens at this moment in time is no easy feat. The visitors are on a three-game winning streak and all signs point towards an entertaining clash for neutrals. You won’t want to miss this encounter…
Montreal have had the beating of Ottawa in recent times; the visitors have won six of the last seven meetings between the two organisations. With that in mind, opting for a road triumph may be the way to go.
Goals Will Be The Order Of The Day
Who had Ottawa ranking as one of the top offensive units through the first six games of the 2018 campaign then? You’ll find just four Eastern Conference teams with more goals scored in as many matches – and that is testament to the Senators.
Improving their offensive efficiency was a top priority for Ottawa in the offseason and Guy Boucher will be happy with his side’s efforts so far this year. There is still a long way to go in the general context of enjoying a successful season but the blueprint is in place.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens have also stepped up in front of goal. With 21 successful efforts in six league games, Montreal are heading in the right direction and they boast one of the stronger defensive units in the National Hockey League.
The visitors were rampant in their last road game, securing a 5-1 victory at the Pittsburgh Penguins. That result sent shockwaves across the Eastern Conference; it is time to take the Montreal Canadiens seriously. Watch this space, a deep playoff run could be on the cards.
Stanley Cup Ambitions For Both Teams?
Let’s not get carried away just yet – the Vancouver Canucks were the last Canadian team to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal are one of the most successful sides historically but it would take a brave man to back Boucher’s side for glory after a prolonged barren era.
To be fair, the Canadiens are probably better placed than Ottawa to reach ice hockey’s main event. Winning the Stanley Cup would be a dream come true for younger Montreal fans; the Canadiens have struggled to inspire confidence on the big stage in recent times. Reaching the playoffs should be their main objective and then Montreal can take things from there.
Ottawa are improving but the Senators are still some way below a few of their rivals in the East. Take the Toronto Maple Leafs for example, do Ottawa have what it takes to defeat John Tavares and Auston Matthews over a seven-game series? You’d probably be inclined to say no, or at least not yet.
A tough one to call for neutrals. Ottawa have the advantage of playing at home but their poor record against Montreal cannot be ignored. The Canadiens are arguably the more complete side and their class should shine through this weekend.
The over/under line is worth considering at around 5.5 but this could quite easily develop into a battle of attrition. Either way, Montreal must be fancied to edge past their Canadian rivals.
TIP: Montreal Canadiens to Win
CORRECT SCORE: Ottawa Senators 2-4 Montreal Canadiens