NHL Canadian Corner – Monday, April 29, 2013.

The Senators clinch seventh overall in the East, the Canucks may have to lean on Roberto Luongo, Phil Kessel gets a chance to slay his Bruins demons, plus the latest on Miikka Kiprusoff, Ryan Smyth, Lars Eller and more.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2, clinching seventh overall for the Sens in the Eastern Conference and knocking the Bruins to fourth overall. The Senators will now face the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, while the Bruins face off against the Toronto Maple  Leafs.

Leafs need Kessel at his best in opening round series against the Bruins.

Leafs need Kessel at his best in opening round series against the Bruins.

TORONTO SUN: Phil Kessel has struggled against the Boston Bruins since they dealt him to the Maple Leafs in 2009. He’ll have a golden opportunity to slay those demons when the Leafs face the Bruins in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have been slumping over the past couple of weeks, but they’ve beaten the Maple Leafs in 12 of their last thirteen meetings, stifling Kessel in nearly all those games. If the Leafs are to advance, they’ll need Kessel at his best.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Cory Schneider is questionable to start Game One of the Canucks- San Jose Sharks series, forcing the Canucks to lean once again on veteran Roberto Luongo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t it be interesting if Luongo had to make all the starts against the Sharks? It would be more interesting if he carried them over the Sharks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: An early season visit with the Canadiens sports psychologist helped then-struggling Lars Eller become one of the Habs key players this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since being placed on a line with rookies Alexander Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, Eller has been among the Habs best players. That young line has also been the Habs best in recent games.

CALGARY SUN: No official word yet on Miikka Kiprusoff’s future plans. While his teammates hope he’ll return next season, it’s widely assumed “Kipper” will retire.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers veteran Ryan Smyth still believes he can be a productive contributor for the Oilers.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets have two chance of clinching the first overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft lottery: slim and none.

6 Comments

  1. The Leafs dont need Kessel at his best, they need JVR, Lupul and Kadri at their best. Let Chara take Kessel out of the game. If we have three lines that can score, Boston’s one-dimensional defence wont be able to handle it. Boston’s lackluster offense is going to struggle, so the Leafs will need to play a tight game, and thats when they play their best. I can see this being a very low scoring series.

  2. Last to division leader in a year. Awesome! Great work habs! Take it to the Sens! Gallaghers going to piss off ottawas D, especially when it’s clean hard work. Habs have to play on the edge but no retaliation penalties. So excited for playoff hockey!

  3. Corey Conacher will frustrate the Habs defensemen as much or more than Gallagher will frustrate the Sens D. And everyone knows that Hab fans did not want to play the Bruins, and silently thank the Sens for last nights win over Boston. Sens fans; however were totally ready to play them. Lol

  4. I don’t think TO’s fortunes rise and fall solely on the shoulders of Phil Kessel. The Leafs will undoubtedly need a major contribution from their top sniper if they are to upset the B’s, but if Rask outplays Reimer, it’s all moot, regardless of how many goals Kessel does or doesn’t score. Kessel v Chara is just one interesting story line in what shoiuld be an intriquing series.

  5. I think the only possible series in the East that could finish in 5 games or less, is the Pittsburgh-Islanders one. All the other ones will take 6 to 7 to find a winner.

    I believe the same will happen in the West. Chicago should take that series in 5 games. All the others will go 6 or 7.

    Should make for an interesting next two weeks.

  6. I don’t like the Maple Leaf’s chances against the Bruins and are clearly the underdog as I really don’t expect this series to go longer than 5 games; maybe 6 at best.

    While anything can happen, the Bruins were Cup winners 2 years ago and even without Tim Thomas, they will be very tough to beat