Montreal’s and Ottawa’s current slides down the Eastern Conference standings can be directly connected to recent, home ice smackdowns at the hands of everyone’s favourite team.
Toronto wasn’t content in simply dominating the on ice play. They also decided to dominate the fickle hearts and weak minds of both teams.
After getting shellacked 5-1 by the Leafs on April 13, the Canadiens have lost three of their last four games in dramatic fashion. This has seen their grasp on the Northeast Division title weaken.
Meanwhile, the Senators have only played and lost one matchup since getting smoked by the Leafs last Saturday, but a bad omen can be found earlier in the season.
The last time the Senators got blown out by the Leafs – a 4-0 loss at home – they rattled off four consecutive loses before rediscovering their mojo.
Toronto’s ability to rise through the Eastern Conference standings this season is due in part to their sheer dominance over these two divisional foes.
The Leafs have already won the season series against both teams. Their record against Ottawa is 4-1-0 while their record against Montreal is 3-1-0 with one game left.
That game concludes the regular season and it’ll give the Leafs a chance to push for the divisional title. At the same time, it’ll give the Leafs the perfect opportunity to “put the icing on the cake” of the Canadiens’ recent woes: Toronto can send them into the playoffs on the perfect losing note.
If you ask me, I couldn’t think of a better finish to the season other than clinching the playoffs at Ottawa’s expense. In either case, however, the Leafs are the clear winners – a trend against Montreal and Ottawa that has been evident all season.
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