First Things First.
Tonight will see the Sens face one of their two main nemesis of the season, the Montreal Canadiens. Unlike their other, the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens have little right to be up in the season series 2-0, at least judging by the standings.
At a record of 16-20-7, there’s no doubting Ottawa should be consistently beating this club, but they don’t, and that makes this game an all important mental test.
And if Ottawa is going to beat this club, they’re going to have to get off to a good start. The Sens have become notoriously slow starters. Yes they comeback with a vengeance, but only because their poor starts often lead to being down early. The last time these two met Montreal went into the first period intermission up 3-1, and never looked back, winning the game 6-2, leaving the home fans used and abused by the visiting Habs faithful.
The game was a slap in the face to the fans, and although this game is not at home, it is the Sens first chance at retribution.
Montreal is out of the post season, that ship has sailed, but as the first game after the Cammalleri trade, this represents a big statement game for the home team, do they rally, and give the fans something to grasp onto whilst their team circles the bowl, or do they just throw in the towel on this gong show management group?
We’ll know in the first, and the Sens can play a role in which this fragile roster chooses.
If Ottawa comes out slow, the Canadiens, on pride alone, will pounce and, along with the energized fans, the result will likely tip them into the “rally” mind-set. But should Ottawa dominate from the drop of the puck, and put the home team on the ropes, the fans will turn on them, and the negative momentum of a frustrating season will likely result in a complete “feck it” reaction on the ice.
This game will be won or lost in the first period. Can the Sens bring it early, and in so doing take another step toward becoming a more well-rounded team?
We’ll soon find out.