The Ottawa Senators return home from an almost 2 week, 4 game road trip where they took 7 out of 8 points. Their guests are the newest arch-rivals and a team they are looking up at in the standings…for now.
Canadian Tire Centre
TV: TSN; RADIO: TSN1200
These are two clubs whose relationship has gone from dislike to absolute hatred in the past 8 months. Ottawa has dominated the rivalry as of late, following up their 5 game playoff series win last spring with wins in the first two matchups this season. Their last meeting was the first game of the recent road swing, in which Clarke MacArthur‘s PP OT goal was the difference in Ottawa’s 4-3 win.
Ottawa wrapped up their road trip with a 3-0 shutout win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, while Montreal was losing to the Devils 4-1 at home.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chris Neil, OTT – Neil couldn’t pick a better time to return to the lineup. The Senators might need his brand of energy for his team to avoid the dreaded “first game home after a long road trip” blues.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Reel Them In – The Habs currently sit 7 points ahead of the Senators. This is the proverbial 4 point game as the gap could be as little as 5 points, or as great as 9. It could mean the difference between contending for the third seed in the Atlantic or settling for a Wild Card chase.
2. Up & Down – The Canadiens have played win one, lose one hockey for the last 6 games. They lost their last one, so the Senators have to be ready for them.
3. Special Teams – The Canadiens rely on their power play for a lot of their offense, and that hasn’t been good as of late. They are 0 for their last 18 and haven’t scored with the man advantage in more than 5 games. On the flipside, the Senators have only allowed one PP against in their last 7 games, while scoring 4 times in their last 4 games when they have been a man up.
It could be a good thing that the Habs are the opponent tonight. It could be way for the Senators to ease back home, because the crowd will be divided as it usually is when the Habs or Leafs come to town.