Four Canadian teams look to compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup

Ottawa Senators:
The Sens currently sit fifth in the east and look to continue their strong play in the post-season. Led by a tough blue-line with the likes of Anton Volchenkov, Chris Phillips and newly-acquired Andy Sutton, Ottawa looks like they will be banging bodies come playoff time. Offensively, the team is well-rounded, though team captain Daniel Alfredsson and sniper Alex Kovalev have recently taken control and led the league. The Sens found themselves riding a huge streak before the playoffs, and will need that kind of consistency in the playoffs. Their one weak spot lies between the pipes, with both Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott having little NHL playoff experience. As seen with post-seasons past, the Sens could live and die based on their goaltending performance.

Montreal Canadiens:
Montreal currently find themselves in tenth, but are tied for the final playoff spot with the Rangers and Thrashers. Jaroslav Halak has taken over the role of starting goalie, and has excelled in the position with a GAA of just 2.56. The team hasn’t been offensively strong lately, led by Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri. Should the Habs grab the last playoff spot, they will likely face either Washington or Pittsburgh, putting them at a significant disadvantage in the opening round. All told, Habs fans shouldn’t expect a long post-season, but with all of the player losses and off-ice adversary the team faced last summer, fans should be happy to even see the playoffs.

Vancouver Canucks:
Luuuuuu. Vancouver is hopping following the Olympics, and despite being in the midst of a record 14-game road trip, the team finds themselves third in the Western Conference. A large part of that has been due to goalie Roberto Luongo, who is leading the team from the back and making wins hard to come by for opposing teams. On the front end, the Sedins are leading the way, especially Henrik who has 83 points in just 64 games. The offensive power has also been contributed to by Daniel, Ryan Kesler, and Alexandre Burrows. The blue-line sees Kevin Bieska and Christian Ehrhoff, playing strong two-way games, helping out the team’s strong play. The Canucks should be a team to watch for in the playoffs, and may be the country’s best hope at bringing the cup back to Canada.

Calgary Flames:
Calgary currently sits just one point out of the playoff picture, putting lots of pressure on them going down the stretch. Canadian icon Jarome Iginla leads the team with just under a point per game, in a year where the Flames have made massive changes and pretty much cleaned house. Miikka Kiprusoff has played amazing for the team in goal, posting a GAA of just 2.22. Aside from these two standouts, the Flames have been disappointing. Big players like Jay Bouwmeester have underperformed, hence why the Flames find themselves in the spot they are. Overall, should Calgary even make it to the playoffs, they will likely see an early exit.

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