The Senators newly minted biggest rivalry continues with the second half of a back to back situation a mere 24 hours after the first battle of the season.
7:30 PM EST
Last Meeting: The two teams squared off less than 24 hours ago, with the Senators skating away with a 5-2 win over what amounted to the Habs’ “B” squad, as they only dressed 6 or 7 players that would be considered NHL regulars.
Last Games: Obviously each clubs’ last game was against each other, and it will be the Senators’ 3rd game in 3 nights.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mark Borowiecki, OTT – With Eric Gryba nursing an injury for most of camp, Borowiecki has the chance to at least make a claim for the 7th spot on the roster if that injury carries over to the regular season. Frederik Claesson, Cody Ceci and Mike Sdao are also battling for that spot, but Borowiecki’s experience from last season might give him the edge.
P.K. Subban, MTL – We didn’t get the expected showdown between Karlsson and Subban that I anticipated last night, but Subban will likely be in against Montreal.
TOP 3 STORYLINES
1. A Different Story: Montreal will undoubtedly dress a much more NHL worthy lineup, playing at home in front of the Bell Centre faithful. While I wouldn’t expect much in the way of fireworks, I wouldn’t put it past Michel Therrien to pull something to show the Habs supporters that he has a backbone. They didn’t get much of their pound of flesh in Ottawa, despite a couple of attempts.
2. Tender Tenders: With Craig Anderson and now Nathan Lawson nursing ailments, and Andrew Hammond dressing for the last two games, it will likely be Robin Lehner between the pipes as he gets to build on his solid performance in Toronto on Tuesday. (EDIT: Anderson will be on the trip and may play, which is good news for the Senators)
3. Top Guns , Part II – Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek will likely play, but who will be centering them? Jason Spezza sat out yesterday with an undisclosed injury, and it would be nice to see him in his customary spot. Stephane Da Costa played there Wednesday, but NHL rules mean he cannot play tonight, having already played back to back games. This is a spot where you might see either Mika Zibanejad or Jean-Gabriel Pageau get a shot if Spezza still cannot go. (EDIT: The Senators are returning the favor on the Habs and will not send any of the above, except Zibanejad, and will ice a young lineup save for the goaltending)
Granted George Parros gives the Habs a slight toughness boost, but with him and Brandon Prust both resting slight injuries, the Canadiens are not a tough team. Travis Moen beat up Frederick Claesson last night, but it was Frederick Claesson. Ryan White would have to be considered the top toughness threat, and he isn’t exactly a heavyweight. Montreal still has some work to do in the rough and tumble department, especially with the likes of P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher running amok.