Game Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens

Saturday January 14th, 2011

7:00 pm

CBC, RDS

5th East (24-15-6) @ 12th East (16-20-7)

A 3-0 shutout win over the then league leading New York Rangers Thursday was a huge victory to prove the team’s legitimacy, but Paul MacLean refused to call it a “statement game”. He insisted it was just the team being prepared to take on one of the best teams in the league. The Ottawa Senators face off against the Montreal Canadiens tonight and though this time the opponent is far from the top of the league, the Sens should use that same mentality to prepare. It is the third of six meetings between the two teams this season with the Senators losing the first two matchups both at Scotiabank Place, the most recent a 6-2 loss coming December 27th.  That however was the only regulation loss the Senators suffered in the past month going 10-1-2 since December 15th.

The Canadiens on the other hand haven’t had success anything near what Ottawa has had. They’ve gone  3-9-0 since December 15th,  finding the Senators one of few teams they were able to beat in the past month. This will also be the Habs first game since trading Cammelleri mid-game Thursday. Bourque who they acquired from Calgary in exchange, will not be in the line-up as he still has one game left in his suspension to serve.

The Senators run has been supported greatly by a healthy roster. Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin are the only Senators currently out, Regin with a shoulder injury and Winchester with a concussion. With 7 healthy d-man, one of either Brian Lee or Matt Carkner will likely be the healthy scratch. The Canadiens will be without Markov, White and Gionta. In nets it will be Craig Anderson for the Sens versus Carey Price for the Habs.

Players To Wacth:

OTTAWA: Milan Michalek – Michalek led the league in goals before missing time with a concussion prior to the Christmas break. Upon his return, he wasn’t able to pick up where he left of, going the first five games without a goal. He finally found his touch last Saturday and hasn’t let it go since. With four goals in four games, don’t think Michalek is going to back out of the goal scoring race that easily as he currently sits third in the league despite the time missed.

MONTREAL: Carey Price – Even with a losing team who was only managed one goal in the last two games to support him, Price has been solid. He has put up respectable numbers with a .913 svp and 2.45 gaa. He’s not far from an even win percentage either at 15-16-7. He’s an all-star goalie and the Sens will need to put lots of shots on him if they want to score.

What To Look For:

Top Trio - The Senators have been solid in receiving production from all four lines but the first line has been absolutely killing it recently. The line centered by Jason Spezza was responsible for all three Sens goals Thursday and three of five goals Tuesday. Each player in the trio has points in the last three games, Greening leading with five (1-4) while Spezza (2-2) and Michalek (3-1) both have four.

EK65 - Karlsson has a five points (1-4) in his current three game point streak and is leading the defensive scoring race right now with a ten point margin between him and second place Brian Campbell. Second only to Spezza in Sens scoring, Karlsson is sitting at 43 points, just one away from an incredible point per game pace. He’s been reliable defensively at the same time and boasts a healthy plus-8 rating.

With three straight wins and a points in eight straight games, the Senators are ready to take another stab at their division rival. It will not be easy sailing for the Sens though who are currently in the middle of a stretch of away games with 9 of 10 on the road.

Check back here after the game for SenShot’s full game recap. Enjoy the game and GO SENS GO!

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Tags: Bourque Brian Campbell Cammelleri Carey Price Colin Greening Craig Anderson Eastern Conference Erik Karlsson Habs Jason Spezza Jesse Winchester Milan Michalek Montreal Montreal Canadiens NHL Northeast Division Ottawa Ottawa Senators Paul MacLean Peter Regin Rivals Senators Sens

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