Ottawa was in a win or stay home scenario on Wednesday night, a true elimination game, the first of this year's playoffs. They would avoid the sweep, however, with a lone goal scored by Mike Hoffman in the third period.
In a series that has been dominated by defense and goaltending to this point, the trend continued as Carey Price has been on a roll this postseason; he only took the loss due to lack of offense. It took until the third period for the Senators to finally put one past the Montreal goaltender. The Canadiens would look to secure a second round birth on Wednesday night that would pit them - Atlantic Division rivals the Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams had great defense, and did not allow very many important scoring chances, but all the chances except for one turned out to produce no results on the scoreboard.
The loss may be a blessing in disguise for the Canadiens. Not only do they have the chance to finish off Ottawa at home, but they also get an extra game to sharpen their skills and fix any problem issues they may have before going into round two. Teams who sweep a playoff series often times look rusty and unprepared for real-time game play after waiting for other series to end. While Montreal may still have this problem, especially if a series goes to seven games (which could happen in any of the other Eastern Conference series, especially the Washington Capitals - New York Islanders one), the Canadiens may be better prepared for their round two opponent who will likely be coming in somewhat tired after a possible long series unless the Red Wings can win the next two and win in five games.
For Ottawa, they get their win on home ice, and avoid getting swept. While it still seems extremely likely they will lose the series, with a good chance it will happen game five in Montreal, it at least keeps them in it for a couple more days, and will also likely avoid them from the first team eliminated label. Anything is possible, and while Montreal does have a clear advantage with two games at home and Carey Price as their goaltender, every game this series has been determined by one goal, so it could potentially swing in the other direction if Ottawa can force a game six at home.
Craig Anderson and Carey Price look to lead their teams to victory once again on Friday night at the Belle Center in Montreal, which could be the final game of the series between these two teams. This series should look to continue it's physical play once again, as Ottawa will be giving forth their full effort in another elimination game, while the Canadiens will try and bring down the Senators for the final time this season on their home ice in what should make for another entertaining game, as all of these have been so far in the series.