Senators – Canadiens Playoff Series Ticket Preview

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By Richie Katz, TiqIQ, Special to All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC. — The battle of Canadian supremacy gets set to kick off Thursday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Although Montreal and Ottawa aren’t known for being bitter rivals, the series is guaranteed to be a compelling one.

Exactly one year ago, Montreal was dead last in the Eastern Conference. This year’s team doesn’t even yield a comparison to last years. This success, finishing with the 2nd seed after finishing 15th last year, is reflected in an increase of ticket prices on the secondary market.

canadiens_fans640For games one and two at the Bell Centre, the average prices are $257 and $319, respectively for Montreal Canadiens tickets. Get-in rates are available for as low as $77 for Thursday’s matchup in Montreal, and $89 for Friday’s. Those prices, not so surprisingly, rise for games five and seven, if they’re needed.

For game five, the average seat is $364 at The Bell Centre, with a $134 “get-in.” For game seven, if the two teams make it to that point, seats will be a whopping $538 with a $180 get-in. The Montreal series average price is $344, 11% more than prices in Ottawa for Senators tickets. The overall series average price comes in at $319.

Montreal has been enjoying the resurgence of all-star defenseman Andrei Markov. He enjoyed his first full healthy season since the ’08-’09 campaign. That being said, Erik Karlsson returned to the Senators lineup with three games remaining in the season. His return instantly boosts Ottawa into Stanley Cup contenders. The Canadiens 23rdranked penalty kill will surely have their hands full in stopping Karlssons deadly power play ability.

After a down month, Carey Price is hoping to put a less than memorable April behind him. Montreal will be relying heavily on their offense in this series, which ranked 4th in the NHL in goals scored.  The mid-season acquisition of Michael Ryder will surely help rookies such as Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk get a feel for the playoffs, as Ryder won a cup with the Bruins in 2011.

Clearly the key to this series will be whether Carey Price can be the superstar he’s capable of being. Too many times in the past he’s fallen apart when it matters the most. His 4-7 record in April makes you wonder how long the leash will be in this series. Peter Budaj is a more than serviceable backup and will be ready, if the time calls.