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Conacher, Senators rout Canadiens in Game 5 to finish off Round 1 series

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Remember when Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson were all injured on February 22 and we were "done"?

That was the question posed by the Ottawa Senators' official Twitter account Thursday after the club took care of business, finishing off the Montreal Canadiens with a blowout 6-1 victory in Game 5.

It was a question the Senators earned, but it was also a bit of a twisted knife. After all, the Montreal Canadiens simply weren't the same team after their injuries, with Carey Price and Brian Gionta out of the lineup. But how can you point to a banged-up group when the team that knocked you off was written off for the same reason three months ago?

In the end, it wasn't even close. The Canadiens came out like a team playing for their lives (which probably makes sense), and they nearly got an early one, but Craig Anderson robbed Rene Bourque to keep the game scoreless. A few moments later, still just two minutes into the game, Peter Budaj couldn't return the favour, and the Senators were off to the races.

[Also: Blackhawks advance, send Wild packing]

That's a rebound the Canadiens needed Budaj to not give up. But he couldn't hold onto it, and Zack Smith gave the Senators took the lead. It took the air out of the building. It never really returned.

The Senators just kept coming. The game-winning goal, scored by Cory Conacher (who added a second in the final frame), came just 10 minutes later.

Again, you could probably fault Peter Budaj for losing the puck.

Budaj is going to be the chèvre in Montreal after his brief performance in relief in Game 4 and his spotty goaltending in Game 5. But he wasn't the reason the Canadiens lost this series.

The Senators were. They outscored Montreal 20-9 in the five games. They were lethal. In the third period, they made that abundantly clear, putting the boots to the Canadiens by scoring on three straight powerplay opportunities to ice the win.

And with that, it was time for the handshake line.

The Senators now await their next opponent. One more win from the Penguins and it'll be them. While they're resting up, now might be a good time for Eugene Melnyk to finish up that forensic investigation.

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