Senators Finish Preseason With 4-2 Win Over Canadiens


The Ottawa Senators closed out their preseason on a high note this Saturday night. Winning for the second time in as many days against the Canadiens, the Sens took this one by a score of 4-2. The victory, while technically meaningless was still an important one for Ottawa. It served as a sort of litmus test against what was very likely an open-night-ready roster of a Montreal squad that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Montreal played backup Peter Budaj in Friday night’s game and chose to turn to Carey Price this time to get his last start of the preseason in before they begin their regular season on Wednesday. The Senators looked to Craig Anderson the night after Robin Lehner helped them to beat Montreal 4-3 in overtime. The shots were 28-27 in favour of Montreal as Price finished with an .888 save percentage to Anderson’s .928.

Both teams finished the preseason with identical 4-2-1 records. Ottawa scored 20 goals and allowed 18 whereas the Habs scored 17, allowing 17 as well.

Although preseason play is never such a solid indicator of a teams’ likely fate during the regular season it is certainly encouraging that the Sens managed to win their last two games that were both against a tough division rival and also featured NHL calibre lineups as opposed to the more  amateur and experimental lineups in earlier games.


Mike Hoffman opened up the scoring with his second goal in as many games just before the 12 minute mark of the first period, which Max Pacioretty would match less than two minutes later. P.K. Subban strong-armed Hoffman in the offensive zone, keeping him to the outside as he carried the puck near the left side of the Senators’ net and then sent a backhanded pass to a wide open Andrei Markov who beat Craig Anderson to make it 2-1 Montreal just three seconds before the end of the period. The Sens looked a little scrambley in the first, but really managed to tidy things up in the second and third.

The second period had no goals scored, but both teams played a little tighter and more controlled as opposed to a jittery first period.

The third period was all Ottawa’s. Mika Zibanejad was able to convert off a nearly mangled drop pass from Milan Michalek and absolutely ripped it over the glove of Price. Both teams kept the tempo up and had some solid chances, but David Legwand would next become the recipient of some puck-luck as his initial shot by the side of the net bounced off Habs defenceman Alexei Emelin and right back to him, which he then fired past an out of position Price to put the Sens up 3-1. Curtis Lazar would seal the victory with an empty netter with just under ten seconds to go to end the game with a score of 4-2.


Decisions, decisions — There’s only so many roster spots available, and now with the end of preseason comes decision time. Curtis Lazar has all but guaranteed himself at least a 9 game trial (but this writer sees him sticking the entire season) with his steady and consistent play at centre and briefly on wing. Mike Hoffman has finished strong, showing the speed and scoring touch that made him so effective in Binghamton last season, and he requires waivers to be sent down (which Sens brass has indicated they are not willing to risk losing him on) so consensus is he sticks with the big club in some capacity or another. Mark Stone is an NHLer this season, and the chemistry he was with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris is undeniable, so that leaves players like Matt Puempel and Buddy Robinson likely on the way to bingo. One question for sure is whether utility wingers Erik Condra and Colin Greening will find themselves in the same spots they’re accustomed to with all the young talent nipping at their heels. On or both could be sent down (unlikely either way) or even traded (more likely, but still interest for them seems to be lukewarm at best).

Rebound years abound (hopefully) — With Craig Anderson out-duelling Carey Price there’s hope that it translates to the regular season and Anderson has a bounce-back year after a poor showing last season. The same goes for backup Robin Lehner, defenceman Jared Cowen and Jean-Gabriel Pageau who could all use some upward trending after the team sagged early on last year.

Missing Methot?Marc Methot has been injured for most of the preseason and it still remains to be seen when exactly he will return to the Senators’ lineup. Fans hope to see him dress for Thursday’s game against Nashville but there are rumblings that he could end up on LTIR.


The Senators start the regular season this Thursday against the Nashville Predators.