The Montreal Canadiens come to town to visit the Ottawa Senators with both teams playing the second half of back-to-backs.
4-1-0, 5th Eastern Conference
4-1-1, T-4th Eastern Conference
TV: TSN; Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
Montreal won 4 of the 6 meetings last season, with one of the wins coming in a shootout. Ottawa managed 2 wins in the season series, but Montreal got points in each game as the Senators won 1 in OT and 1 in a shootout.
While Montreal was beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at home, Ottawa came from behind to beat the Washington Capitals 3-2, with both teams playing the first half of back to back games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Peter Budaj, MTL – For the second half of this back to back, Budaj is expected to get the start in place of Carey Price. It will be Budaj’s first action of the season. He has never faced the Senators in his career.
Milan Michalek, OTT – With 2 goals and 4 assists, is the only Senators player to have a point in each of the 6 games Ottawa has played. Michalek finished Tuesday night’s game on a line with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson in the absence of the injured Jason Spezza.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Zibanejad - Not Bad - I said in yesterday’s preview that Zibanejad could make it difficult to send him back to Binghamton with a solid effort. Well, in his first opportunity, he did just that and was arguably the team’s best skater all night. MacLean used him more than he would have thought, and Zibanejad responded very well. A repeat performance tonight could keep him in Ottawa.
2. Anderson Encore? – Coming off a 31 save performance, Anderson is likely to get the start against Montreal, even though it would mean back to back games. He is in the zone right now, and Paul MacLean likely won’t mess with that a second time.
3. Stop The Habs Streak, Start One of Their Own – The Canadiens come in on a a4 game winning streak and are 1 point behind the Senators in the Eastern Conference and Northeast Division standings. They want to end Montreal’s winning streak and start one of their own, having won their last game.
This is the first divisional matchup of the season for the Senators, after playing 5 of their first 6 games against the Southeast division. They have done a good job putting up points so far, but the divisional games have that much more importance in the standings and each one is like a 4 point game. They play the Habs twice in the next 5 days, as they will play in the Bell Centre on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon. If they do get to face Budaj as opposed to Price, they need to jump on him early to quiet the no doubt boisterous Montreal fans that always invade Scotiabank Place.
Enjoy the game!