Our SBN pals for this series are the people of Silver Seven Sens, a great blog on all things Senators.
We spoke to Ross of SSS to get an Ottawa-based perspective on the upcoming series.
1. It won't change things, but do you get the sense from your fanbase that you'd have preferred to face Toronto over the Bruins?
Mostly, no. Boston is the better team, but most Sens fans still have awful memories of the Battle of Ontario. Rather than healing, the last 13 years have given us time to relive every moment over and over in our minds. I don't think my morale could have handled another series loss to the Leafs.
2. People kept waiting for the letdown from Ottawa this season, but the team held steady. What do you think has been the single biggest reason for the team's success?
Part of it was elite performances by guys like Anderson and Karlsson at the right times. Part of it was a team-wide buy-in to the system (aka #TheSystem). Ottawa seemed pretty good all year at keeping chances to the outside, meaning that though they were outshot routinely, they were better at limiting high-danger chances. #TheSystem also required a lot of shot-blocking, which may have helped things. Guy Boucher has his flaws for sure, but he seems to have developed a system that maximizes his team's strengths (speed, top-of-the-lineup-skill) and accounts for the weaknesses (talent depth, left side D).
3. We know about Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, etc. Who's a guy on the Senators whose talent will surprise the average Bruins fan?
Ottawa doesn't have much depth that will surprise Bruins fans. Maybe the speed of someone like Ryan Dzingel or the bomb of a shot from Fredrik Claesson (if he gets to play) will be surprising. It may surprise Bruins fans to realize just how good Mark Stone is, or how lethal Mike Hoffman's shot is if he gets the chance to unleash.
I also find it interesting you include Brassard in here because most Sens fans would say this season was a disappointment. The Sens gave up a 23-year-old centre and a 2nd-round pick for a guy who couldn't crack 40 points. (Editor’s note: I don’t know, he was a name.)
4. Bruins fans don't like Alex Burrows. Aside from him, who on the Senators roster do you expect to be the guy (there's always one) Bruins fans end up hating after the series?
I'm predicting Mark Stone. He overcelebrates everything that happens, which is a lot of fun when you cheer for him, but must get frustrating if you're on the opposing team. He won't play dirty, but lots of over-the-top celebration can start to feel dirty.
5. What do you see as Ottawa's single biggest strength?
6. On that subject, it is truly a delight to watch Erik Karlsson play hockey, and watch the anti-Karlsson people deride him as being a third forward. This isn't a question, but it needed to be said.
I'm glad you said this, because Karlsson is the consummate defenceman. He's so good at separating guys from the puck, he leads a breakout effortlessly, he can run the point the best of anyone in the league. I think it would be a huge waste of his talent to have him as a forward crashing the net or digging the puck loose in the corners.
7. Give me your series prediction.
Sens in 6.
Thanks to Ross for answering our questions. Be sure to check out their site to see things from Ottawa’s perspective during this series.