Only two nights after Kaspars Daugavins inspired himself with a whimsical shootout attempt, the Senators are back in action, with another key Division rivalry matchup. They pulled a point out of Monday night’s game, and now head to the Conference leader’s home ice to try and take two.
5th Eastern Conference: 13-8-5
1st Eastern Conference: 17-5-4
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM ET
TV: RDS, TSN Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD:
It’s game 4 of the season series between these two heated Division Rivals. Sure it isn’t the Battle of Ontario, but with the way these two teams play against each other, it’s about time they put Gatineau up for grabs once and for all. The Senators lead the season series so far 2-1 and in a stat that seems beyond belief this year, have outscored their Blue, White, Red opponent 8-4.
Andrei Markov found himself potting a puck in the back of the net behind Ben Bishop the last time these two teams met. But thanks to a goal from Dave “Dizzy” Dziurzynski, Bishop got the last laugh, taking the win in the shootout. The Sens didn’t stop the Habs from stealing a point, but solid goaltending once again meant they walked about with the “2″ on the point sheet.
The Canadiens are back in action after what must seem like an eternity in this shortened season. Having been off since their Sunday, 5-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers, the Blue, White, and Red jersey’d men trying to steal Gatineau have made their way back home from their Sunshine State vacation. The Senators in the mean time have found themselves already packing their bags after their lengthy 1 game homestand. The Sens jumped out to an early lead on Monday night, but fell in the shootout, despite the stellar efforts of Robin Lehner.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jakob Silfverberg – OTT – The resident hero in the game against the Rangers has been making more of a mark every game lately. His last two shootout attempts have been stopped, something no one was sure was possible, but looked for Silfverberg (OH-AH) to find more and more of his comfort zone and work into the open space.
Michael Ryder – MON – 7 games with the Canadiens, 9 points. It’s hard to argue with a hot hand. While Cole used to be a terror in the Sens Seas, his replacement, the Hab that won’t go away, Michael Ryder, seems perfectly comfortable back in a Canadiens jersey.
1 – Goaltending: I bet no one saw that one coming. Between these two teams lie some pretty impressive goaltenders, and the pads are going to stack up high in tonight’s game. Expect flashes of leather, impossible stick saves, and a comfortable Seantors team finding itself in another low scoring affair.
2- Health & Maintenance: Chris Neil and Sergei Gonchar took maintenance days in practice yesterday, but no cause for concern. The two are expected back in the lineup for puck drop, which is good news for the Ottawa D line.
3- Grace & Grits: With Ottawa adding some toughness to the ranks of their depth forwards expect the Senators to be standing a little taller. An injection of confidence and strength may be just what the lineup is looking for. With the muscle there, (and some muscle missing on the Canadien’s side) expect the more graceful elements of the Senators lineup to take notice.
The Bruin’s game on Monday night proved to a Senator’s squad that scoring early may not be such a bad idea after all. Expect the boys in white to come out swinging and standing about 6 inches taller than they normally would. The neutral zone is going to be a mess with both teams blocking possession entrances. The Sens D-men are accustomed to pinching the breakout wingers when they have the chance, but Montreal is a speedy team, so expect a few reservations with the pinch tonight. If people think football is a game of inches, they’ve never seen a game with all-star goaltenders, and tonight’s display is primed to be just that.
And remember, just because we aren’t the home team this time, never leave your “ALFIE, ALFIE, ALFIE,” chant at home.