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Brothers, David Groen, the Leafs fan in blue wig, left, and Gerry Groen, the Habs fan in the "helmet," making laps of the concourse at the ACC before the first period of the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Montreal Canadians at the ACC on Toronto on April 27, 2013. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Brothers, David Groen, the Leafs fan in blue wig, left, and Gerry Groen, the Habs fan in the "helmet," making laps of the concourse at the ACC before the first period of the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Montreal Canadians at the ACC on Toronto on April 27, 2013. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

A nation’s eyes turn to quartet of Canadian teams to fill 20-year Stanley Cup void Add to ...

Coincidentally, the last time the Senators hoisted the Cup, they beat the Canadiens to get there. Of course, the Sens subsequently disappeared for 65 years or so, but they’ve been to the big dance more recently than Montreal, having lost in the final in 2006-07. This is, understandably, still a sensitive subject.

How much for scalped tickets?

The Senators recently aired television commercials in a bid to goose their playoff ticket sales, so the scalpers may be facing inhospitable market conditions. Then again, they’ll be able to soak Habs fans who can’t or won’t stump up the cash to see a game in Montreal. Ticket resale websites have stubs starting at $150 each for nosebleeds.

Biggest watering hole

It’s axiomatic that there are no proper pubs in the suburbs, and the Sens play in Kanata. That said, there are lots of places for fans to congregate both in Scotiabank Place and environs, but the spots that bill themselves as Sens HQ are closer to downtown. The best known is probably Local Heroes sports bar, although the Senate Tavern is frequently mentioned on Sens fan sites.

How to recognize a true fan

It’ll be the person sporting a Sens jersey and an inferiority complex if there are Toronto and Montreal fans in the room.

Fan-favourite player: Daniel Alfredsson

Ageless Swede, life-long Senator, pillar of the community. If he were ever moved to run for mayor, Alfredsson would set a record for most lopsided electoral victory in Canadian history.

Star wattage

There are loads of celebrity Sens fans, including former Friends star Matthew Perry. Oh, and comedian Tom Green. Um, Globe and Mail political columnist Jeffrey Simpson? Okay, maybe they don’t quite have mega-watt power, but global pop icon and sex symbol Rihanna wore a Senators jersey as a dress to a stylish Hollywood nightclub earlier this year. So there.

Fuzzy mascot-like creature: Spartacat

The Sens “ambassador of fun” is a fluffy, smiling lion. Its name evokes rugged Spartan warrior, what could possibly go wrong with this combination? Plenty, apparently.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Odds of winning series: 20 per cent

Toronto has historically been pushed around by the Boston Bruins, and this season’s record of 1-2-1 against Beantown did halt an eight-game losing skid, but that’s hardly enough to start planning victory parties.

Odds of winning Stanley Cup: 22 to 1 (Bodog.net)

Last time in playoffs: 2003-04Last Stanley Cup win: 1967

George (Punch) Imlach was the head coach, Lester B. Pearson was the prime minister and Leafs Nation had no idea what kind of darkness was ahead of them.

How much for scalped tickets?

$208 will get you a standing-room-only ticket to game 3 in Toronto on Stubhub.com. The cheapest ticket available for Game 1 in Boston? $84 (U.S.). Everyone who makes money off hockey knows Leafs fans will shell out, and now that their team is in the playoffs, Leafs Nation is about to get squeezed hard.

Biggest watering hole

Real Sports Bar & Grill is within throwing distance of the Air Canada Centre and has a 39-foot HD big screen and 199 HD TVs, although rival Wayne Gretzky’s boasts the Great One’s name recognition. But let’s be honest. This is Toronto. Every bar will be stacked with Leafs fans.

How to recognize a true fan

By the measure of delusion. Just kidding, Leafs fans. This is definitely your year. Of course, it is.

Fan-favourite player: Phil Kessel

The 25-year-old winger led the team in goals and assists, and after, his 2009 trade from Boston, you know he’s got something to prove.

Star wattage

Teen idol/pop singer Justin Bieber is a die-hard Leafs fan. Let’s just hope his recent fortunes don’t portend anything for the team’s chances in the playoffs.

Furry mascot-like creature: Carlton the Bear

Large polar bear has been hanging around since 1995, sporting a cheery smile despite a lifetime without a Stanley Cup final appearance.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Odds of winning series: 50 per cent

The Canucks and San Jose Sharks both have ace goaltenders, and aging stars, whose time to make one last run for the Cup runs short. The jobs of both head coaches are on the line. You lose: you’re fired.

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