Nobody is really sure what to expect when the Montreal Canadiens face off against the Senators for the first time since last April’s playoff drubbing.
Canadian Tire Centre
7:30 PM EST
TV: Rogers22, RDS
Last Meeting: The burgeoning feud between the Senators and Canadiens reached fever pitch during the Senators 4-1 elimination of the Habs in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Last Games: Ottawa played their first of 3 games in 3 nights with a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto, without their top line and top defensive pair in the lineup. Max Pacioretty scored twice and Ryan White had the winner as the Habs beat the Devils 3-2 on Monday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Erik Karlsson, OTT – It might only be a pre-season contest, but Karlsson will be looking at it as facing off against someone who stole something that belongs to him…the Norris Trophy. He will continue to show that he is recovered from his Achilles injury and is ready to go full speed this season.
P.K. Subban, MTL – The defending Norris Trophy winner is outspoken and brash, but he can play hockey. He might be looking to send a message that he earned the Norris, and wasn’t simply the “default” because Karlsson missed so much time.
TOP 3 STORYLINES
1. Much Ado About Nothing: The Habs went out in the off-season and acquired George Parros, but Michel Therrien has stated that the enforcer will not play in either game against the Senators. That will reduce the likely-hood of the Habs trying to even the score from the perceived disrespect Montreal suffered at the hands of the Senators
2. MacLean vs Therrien: I wouldn’t expect Paul MacLean to start any off-ice antics, but I am sure if given the opportunity to one-up Michel Therrien he won’t let it pass either. He owned Therrien in the playoffs, and Therrien doesn’t seem like the type that will forget that. He also doesn’t seem like the type who is going to win many of those battles of wit.
3. Top Guns - Jason Spezza, Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek will undoubtedly be in the lineup as will Karlsson and Marc Methot. Whether MacLean chooses to dress the Kyle Turris line tonight or tomorrow night as backup remains to be seen. (EDIT: Spezza will not play, and his spot will be taken by Stephan Da Costa)
I am not sure what the Canadiens have in mind for tonight and tomorrow. Not that Parros gives gives Montreal a decided egde in toughness, but without him in the lineup Ottawa will have a decided edge in size and toughness no matter who they dress. Maybe Montreal goes for revenge, maybe they wait until tomorrow on home ice, or maybe they realize that it would be fighting a losing battle and they would look that much worse for trying and losing…again.