The Habs this week

Monday, 10.11.2008 / 3:00 PM / News
canadiens.com
MONTREAL – One week after a long layoff, it’s just the opposite this week for the Canadiens, who will hit the ice four times in six days.

Canadiens vs. Senators – Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7 PM

The week kicks off with the first meeting of the season between the Canadiens and Senators. The Habs won the final two regular season matchups against their division rival last year, outscoring them 10-5. 

After just two wins in their first eight games, including a five-game losing streak, Ottawa has turned the corner over the last two weeks.  The Senators had earned points in five straight before Friday night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Keep an eye on:
Tomas Plekanec: Maybe Tomas Plekanec just isn’t a big fan of October because he certainly seems to be enjoying November.  The Czech pivot is riding a three-game points streak, during which he’s piled up seven points.

Alex Auld: Signed as a free agent over the summer to back up Martin Gerber, Auld has stepped to the forefront and been an important part of the Senators’ recent success. The 27-year-old netminder is 5-2-1 so far, with a league-leading 1.84 goals-against average (heading into Monday’s action) and a .936 save percentage, to sit third overall.


Canadiens at Bruins – Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 PM

The Canadiens are likely hoping that the number 13 isn’t so unlucky for them come Thursday night.  The Habs have beaten the Bruins in 12 straight regular season meetings and will be looking to add to that record in their first visit to Boston this season.  The last victory came back on Oct. 15, when Alex Tanguay notched the game-winning goal in the shootout, to give the Canadiens a 4-3 triumph in their home opener.

With wins in six of their last seven games as of Monday, the Bruins are certainly hoping to end their regular season jinx against Montreal.  Claude Julien’s squad has built on last year’s surprising success, boasting an 8-3-3 record ahead their game Wednesday against the Blackhawks.

Keep an eye on:
Andrei Kostitsyn: The 23-year-old was a thorn in the Bruins’ side last season, racking up 11 points in just seven games.  With just five points through 10 games, a game against Boston could be just what the doctor ordered.

Marc Savard: Savard has been exactly what the Bruins were hoping for when they signed him back in 2006-07.  The veteran pivot’s 16 points lead the team in scoring, a spot he’s held in each campaign he’s spent in Beantown.


Canadiens vs. Flyers – Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7 PM

One game later, the Canadiens face yet another team they’ve dominated in the regular season over the last couple of years: the Flyers.  Guy Carbonneau’s crew has won seven straight against Philadelphia, dating back to December 21, 2006.  The two teams have met once already this season, with the Habs emerging with a 5-3 win back on Oct. 13.

The Flyers have struggled through the first month and change of the season, posting a 4-6-3 record as of Monday.  That has them second-to-last in the Atlantic Division, just one point ahead of the Islanders.  While they’ve had little trouble scoring goals, Philadelphia has had a tough time keeping pucks out of its own net.  They’ve given up an average of 3.54 goals per game, ranking them 28th in the league.

Keep an eye on:
Carey Price: Price faced the Flyers three times last season and was the starter in the only meeting so far this year.  The Flyers are likely hoping he won’t be in net, as the sophomore goalie has been very stingy against them.  Price has won all four games he's played, recording a 1.75 goals-against average and .948 save percentage in those contests.

Mike Richards: The Flyers’ captain has been on a roll of late, with five points – all assists - in his last five games.  While he’s racked up 12 helpers already (as of Monday), Richards has just four goals to his credit and none since Oct. 22.


Canadiens at Blues – Sunday, Nov. 16 at 6 PM

The Canadiens will close out the week with their first visit to the St. Louis Blues in two years.  Last season, the two clubs met in Montreal with the Blues taking the victory in the shootout.  The Habs haven’t lost in St. Louis since December 28, 2001.

Consistency has been an issue for the Blues early on this season.  Andy Murray’s troop has yet to post a winning streak beyond three games and, as of Monday, had lost five straight.  They’ve struggled defensively during that stretch, allowing at least five goals in four of those outings.

Keep an eye on:
Alex Tanguay: He may have been a Nordiques fan growing up but Tanguay is clearly enjoying life in bleu-blanc-rouge.  The 28-year-old, who has 32 points in 30 career games against the Blues, is tied for the team lead in scoring (heading into Monday’s action) and has racked up five multi-point games already this season.

Paul Kariya:
After a disappointing campaign in 2007-08, Kariya has rebounded nicely in his second year in St. Louis.  The 34-year-old has 15 points so far, just one shy of team leader Andy McDonald, and has failed to record at least a point in just two games this season.

Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com