Game 37: Les Canadiens de Montréal @ Ottawa Senators

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Les Canadiens sont là! After a bit of a break, the Ottawa Senators return to action to take on the Montréal Canadiens. A quick look at the standings will tell you that Ottawa is still sitting in eighth place. The Senators have played a game more than most clubs, but they are also eighth in the east in terms of points per game and 16th in the NHL. This club isn't in a playoff spot right now because of a weak conference or more games played, they have earned it.

The big news on the roster front is that Milan Michalek will return to the lineup. Chris Phillips will also miss his first game since the 2007-2008 season. The one game Phillips missed in that season has been the only game he missed since the 2005-2006 season. Phillips will be replaced by Brian Lee.

Here are the lines from TSN.

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Bobby Butler
Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Brian Lee - Matt Carkner

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

After the jump, there are some points of discussion for tonight (you are welcome Caden) as well as statistics for the two clubs.

Here are some things to look out for tonight:

  • Balanced lines: Even though the Senators have loaded up on the top line, they have a pretty potent second line with Foligno, Turris and Butler. Even the third line has Greening with 8 goals and Smith with 9 goals. Turris and Butler could also develop some chemistry with Butler scoring the game winner against Florida. That is a pretty solid looking top nine.
  • Consistent Karlsson: Erik Karlsson did not pick up a point in Carolina. He has only had one pointless streak over one game this season. Expect him to be among the points tonight.
  • Phillips injured: Chris Phillips might have been reduced to a third pairing because of Jared Cowen, but his minutes will have to be eaten up tonight, especially on the penalty kill. Brian Lee can pretty much do whatever Phillips can do, so it might be a straight 1-for-1 swap in all situations. Since the return of Kuba and Gonchar, Phillips has played 15:09, 15:52 and 14:00 in the three games.
  • Struggling Habs: Ottawa put in a terrible effort in Carolina and lost in overtime. That was however in a back-to-back situation. Tonight they are well rested and playing an opponent that has lost five in a row. The win is certainly there for the taking for Ottawa.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Canadiens:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Montréal
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 3.00 8th 2.42 25th
Goals Against per game 3.33 28th 2.67 13th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.92 19th 0.95 16th
Shots for per game 30.8 11th 29.5 17th
Shots against per game 31.7 28th 28.7 7th
Power play % 18.2 13th 12.3 29th
Penalty kill % 79.6 25th 88.6 3rd
Category Ottawa Enemy - Montréal
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 37 Tomas Plekanec 27
Goals Milan Michalek 19 Erik Cole 13
Assists Erik Karlsson 29 Tomas Plekanec 20
PP Points Erik Karlsson 14 Tomas Plekanec 10
Shots Erik Karlsson 116 Max Pacioretty 118
Hits Nick Foligno 98 Alexei Emelin 88
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:18 P.K. Subban 23:59
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 58.6 Petteri Nokelainen 53.0
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