The Ottawa Senators have been in Montreal for two nights, hopefully not enjoying the night life too much as they play a matinee against the Habs.
5-2-1, 4th Eastern Conference
TV: CBC, RADIO: TEAM1200
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the second meeting of the season, in fact the second time in 5 days the two sides have battled. Ottawa gave up the first goal, but an untimely double minor from Ryan White turned the tide of the game as it led to the Senators scoring 3 times in just over thee and a half minutes en route to a 5-1 victory on home ice.
The Senators began life without Jason Spezza with a sleepy 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. Montreal dominated the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon, scoring a 6-1 victory. Carey Price wasn’t overly busy, so will likely get the start in back to back days.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Peter Regin, OTT – Even in Spezza’s absence, Regin still only played just over 12 minutes against the Canes. He needs to step up and produce something to keep his spot in the lineup and potentially earn a new contract. He is still pointless this season through 8 games.
P.K. Subban, MTL – After a very public contract negotiation, Subban finally made his debut yesterday against the Sabres and earned an assist in being named the game’s second star. He is a polariazing influence on his team and has said all the right things so far and has attempted to fit in to the new system.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
- Discipline – The Senators cannot mess with the Montreal power play. The Habs have earned almost 6 power plays per game at home and have 8 PPG in 5 home games so far.
- Momentum or Fatigue? – Montreal dominated yesterday against the Sabres, with their biggest offensive output of the season. Will they be tired from playing less than 24 hours earlier, or will they come in on the same roll that they ended on Saturday?
- Avoid the Panic – Senators fans can deal with one subpar game, it happens over the course of a season. A second one back-to-back, given the timing of Spezza’s injury, will cause many to start to panic and look for changes. The Senators need to at least score some goals to appease those that are close to the ledge.
The Senators are at a fork in the road on the season. They have yet to not at least earn a point in back to back games, and they are still firmly in a playoff spot. They are 2-1 without Spezza, but 0-1 since the new came out that he was undergoing surgery and would be unavailable for some time. The door is open for the likes of Regin, Zibanejad and others to prove they can pick up some of Spezza’s slack or they might get shuffled out and the likes of Stefan Da Costa given a chance to see if they can do the job.