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game preview

Sens head to Montreal to face Habs

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Sens head to Montreal to face Habs
Ottawa Senators vs. Montréal Canadiens
SENATORS (36-25-9) at CANADIENS (27-32-11)

TV
: RDS (HD), TSN

Last 10: Ottawa 6-3-1; Montreal 3-6-1.

Season Series: This is the fourth of six season meetings, and the first of a back-to-back. Despite their last-place standing in the Eastern, Montreal holds a 2-0-1 edge over Ottawa, but both of those wins came away from the Bell Centre. In the only meeting in the Habs' building, on Jan. 14, the Senators prevailed in a shootout, 3-2, on Daniel Alfredsson's conversion.

Big Story: Montreal and Ottawa have been on nearly identical runs of late – both teams won two straight before losing post-regulation to Buffalo in their last outing – but the more important stat comes in the conference standings. The Senators sit seventh, comfortably inside the playoff picture, and are looking to hedge the four-point gap between them and sixth-place New Jersey.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa opened February in a rare offensive slump, scoring just three times in losses to Chicago and Florida. That changed last Tuesday in Tampa Bay, when Ottawa netted seven times in a blowout. On Thursday, the Senators returned home to beat the face the New York Rangers, 4-1. Ottawa gave up an early goal to Ryan Callahan, but scored four straight, dominating most of the contest. Saturday against Buffalo, however, Ottawa failed to finish. Up 3-2 with six minutes to go, Marcus Foligno equalized for the Sabres at 14:06. After a career game against the Rangers in which he stopped 25 of 26 shots, youngster Ben Bishop made 38 saves but lost a goaltending duel with Buffalo's Ryan Miller. With Craig Anderson still sidelined with a right-finger laceration, Bishop should make his fourth straight start.

"When Craig went down the uncertainty makes you cautious," Sens coach Paul MacLean said. "As a coach you like knowing, you don't like hoping. Right now we know we're going to get good goaltending and that makes us all feel a little better."

Canadiens: As a disappointing season winds down, Montreal has clearly resolved to fight until the end. The Habs went 2-1 on a three-game swing through Western Canada, including convincing wins over Edmonton and Vancouver. Montreal conceded first, but scored the next four – including two goals from Erik Cole – and Carey Price made 32 saves.

On Monday against Buffalo, the Sabres looked like it would be an easy, 2-1 regulation win. That is, until David Desharnais scored on a snap shot with five seconds left to send it into overtime. Tyler Myers’ wrist shot at 2:01 of overtime to snatch the two points from Montreal.

"There's no quit in this team," said backup Peter Budaj, who stopped 33 shots. "There's a lot of pride and a lot of commitment to the team, to the logo, to the organization and fans."

Who's Hot: It's a tale of two Erik's. Erik Karlsson has to be considered a finalist for the Norris Trophy. The blueliner scored twice against Buffalo and has 10 goals and 11 assists in his last 13 games. … Cole, meanwhile, has 3 goals and an assist in his last two games.

Injury Report: In addition to Anderson, Peter Regin (left-shoulder surgery) and Jesse Winchester (concussion) are also on IR. … For Montreal, Raphael Diaz (lower body), Mathieu Darche (dizziness/upper body), Travis Moen (upper body), Mike Blunden (knee surgery) and Brian Gionta (right biceps surgery) are on the IR.

Stat Pack: Ottawa has won six times in its last eight trips to the Bell Centre, and will have a wild card in the surprising Bishop. Unfortunately, Price has performed well against the Senators of late, going 6-1-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average and a shutout since the start of 2010-11.

Puck Drop: Veteran Habs defenseman Andrei Markov made his return against the Canucks, playing 17 minutes and assisting on P.K. Subban's power-play goal.
 
"He's a first-class player and he moves the puck so well," Habs goalie Carey Price said. "When we're breaking the puck out, he just has the confidence with it, and it makes a big difference. He's a big boost for us and he's pretty irreplaceable."

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 23 '12OTT 1 at MTL 5E. Cole
Mar 16 '12MTL 1 at OTT 2 - OTF. Kuba
Mar 14 '12OTT 2 at MTL 3 - SOD. Desharnais
Jan 14 '12OTT 3 at MTL 2 - SOD. Alfredsson
Dec 27 '11MTL 6 at OTT 2M. Cammalleri
Nov 04 '11MTL 2 at OTT 1A. Kostitsyn
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Spezza71294675+930102
E. Karlsson70195170+154235
M. Michalek66322052+320103
D. Alfredsson65222749+81272
N. Foligno71142741+09313
S. Gonchar6433033+04210
C. Greening71141731-53930
F. Kuba6252227+222031
C. Neil62111425-411620
Z. Smith70141024+48413
E. Condra7081523+102801
K. Turris4481220+82502
M. Gilroy6021618+21800
C. Phillips6941317+51431
J. Cowen7151116-13801
B. Butler526915+81204
K. Daugavins594610-41201
B. Lee35178-22700
J. Winchester28257+32200
Z. Konopka53325-417211
S. Da Costa22325-9800
J. O'Brien17224+6201
P. Regin10224+3200
D. Rundblad24134-11600
M. Carkner24112-32900
N. Filatov9011+1400
M. Zibanejad9011-3200
R. Klinkhammer5011+2000
M. Borowiecki2000-1200
A. Petersson1000+0000
M. Hoffman1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Anderson5629-19-614816922.85.913
R. Lehner53-2-0101542.01.935
A. Auld142-4-2363103.35.884
B. Bishop42-0-291212.16.926
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Pacioretty68302858+15444
D. Desharnais70163955+102032
E. Cole71272552+114284
T. Plekanec70133245-204852
P. Subban7072532+38450
T. Kaberle7032831-191210
L. Eller68151126-44612
A. Kostitsyn53121224-81633
R. Bourque6517623-195631
M. Cammalleri3891322-61012
Y. Weber5641418-72640
T. Moen489716-34100
R. Diaz5931316-73001
B. Gionta318715-71620
J. Gorges7121113+93201
M. Darche615712-41800
S. Gomez382911-91421
L. Leblanc31358+01400
C. Campoli32268-4800
H. Gill53178-72900
A. Emelin58246-132400
P. Nokelainen48235-73301
B. Geoffrion30134+02100
M. Blunden28213-2900
J. Spacek12033+2200
A. Palushaj27022+0600
R. White14022-63600
F. St-Denis9101+1800
A. Markov3011-2200
B. Staubitz51000-610200
A. Engqvist12000-1400
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Price6025-26-914817472.44.915
P. Budaj113-6-2323282.90.902