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Game Day: Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators - A Milestone Night?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

7:30 pm

Sportsnet-East, Team 1200

12th East (13-16-7)  @ T-7th East (17-14-5)

 

After a three day break from the action, the Ottawa Senators host a pivotal divisional game Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.  Pivotal in the fact that the 12th place Canadiens currently trail the final playoff position occupying Senators by 6 points and the swing provided by a Sens win would all but crush the Habs’ playoff hopes.

Ottawa has won their last 3 home games, and have points in their last 4 games overall.  They are coming off a 2-1 OT loss to Carolina in their last game before the Christmas break.  Milan Michalek will be returning to the lineup and will play on a line with Jason Spezza and Daniel AlfredssonChris Phillips will sit out tonight’s game with what the coach described as a “boo-boo” and he is listed as day-to-day, meaning Brian Lee will get back into the lineup.

Kyle Turris will look to extend his streak that has seen him earn an assist in each of his 3 games played so far in a Senators uniform.  Alfredsson scored once in his last home game, and his next one will be the 400th goal of his career. It will also be the unveiling of the new Bell HD scoreboard that was installed over the holidays.  The new board was a long time coming and should be a vast improvment over its predecessor.

The Canadiens, unlike the Senators could not have been enjoying their time off.  They are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak under interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, and they are losing touch with a playoff spot.  In their last game they were shut out 4-0 by the Winnipeg Jets.

This will be the second of 6 meetings between the clubs this season, with Montreal winning the first one by a score of 2-1, way back on Novmber 4th.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tomas Kaberle, D (MTL) – The Canadiens’ acquired Kaberle to replace Andrei Markov and his offence.  So far the former Leaf has 5 assists in 7 games, but he is -2 as a Hab. Kaberle was gifted a Stanely Cup ring last season and was a bust in Carolina, so the pressure is on him to perform at a higher level in a pressure filled hockey market.  I don’t know if that is a good spot for him over the long haul.

Daniel Alfredsson, RW (OTT) – Could this be the night that #11 scores his 11th of the season, which would also be the 400th of his career?  In a career filled with achievements and monumental moments, 400 goals would be a special milestone and hopefully one that can be accomplished in Scotiabank Place.

 

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Don’t Waste Time Trying to Get Alfredsson #400 – The players he is playing with need to realize that Alfredsson’s 400th goal is going to come at some point, and not to spend too much time forcing it to happen.  It looked like they were doing just that against Carolina, instead of playing the game the right way.

2.  Craig Anderson – Allowing only 5 goals in his last three games has allowed the Senators to come away with 5 points.  His consistency after Christmas will determine if the Senators can maintain a playoff spot or not.

3. Learn from last season – As I have said many times before, the Senators were within a point of the playoffs on Boxing Day last year.  A Spezza shoulder injury and dreadful January caused February’s blowup of the franchise.  They need to avoid a January letdown and Spezza needs to avoid being boarded by Kris Letang.

 

Check back after the game for a full recap.

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Tags: Craig Anderson Daniel Alfredsson Jason Spezza Kyle Turris Milan Michalek Montreal Canadiens

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