Game 44 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Montréal Canadiens

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montréal Canadiens on 4 January 2014.

The Ottawa Senators will look for a season high fourth straight win when they make the short trip across the Canada-Québec border to play the Canadiens in Montréal. Ottawa's winning streak has moved them to within three and four points of Detroit and Toronto respectively. The Habs have not been playing well but have managed to continue winning, thanks in large part to the excellent play of Carey Price.

Craig Anderson will start again while Eric Gryba comes in for Joe Corvo. Jason Spezza will miss his fourth straight game with a hip injury and Patrick Wiercioch will be a healthy scratch yet again for the 15th time this season.

Here are the lines from Bruce Garrioch and John Lu.

Ottawa

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Smith - Condra
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Kassian - Pageau - Stone

Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Phillips - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Montréal

Pacioretty - Deshernais - Gallagher
Bourque - Plekanec - Gionta
Galchenyuk - Eller - Prust
Bournival - Briere - Moen

Bouillon - Subban
Markov - Emelin
Murray - Gorges

Price (starter)
Budaj

Some notes for tonight:

  • Matt Kassian is awesome. The Sens are 11-3-6 when he plays and 7-15-1 when he doesn't. Is it because Kassian is elite talent? Is it luck? Probably. It also probably saves the coach from himself by giving more ice time to his ice hockey players.
  • Patrick Wiercioch cannot seem to win the trust of his coach to play while Jared Cowen played over 25 minutes. It is too bad.
  • I am feeling a lot more confident about this team. Erik Karlsson hasn't created a whole lot offensively since the Pittsburgh game but the team has won three out of four. It's nice to be able to score without Erik doing everything all the time.
  • The Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek was on fire yet again. Hopefully they can get more than 15 minutes of ice tme tonight.
  • Conacher has been playing pretty good for the last month with nine points in 11 games.
  • Erik Karlsson has fallen four points behind Duncan Keith for the defensive scoring lead. He's five points ahead of third place P.K. Subban though.
  • Cody Ceci has quietly played 11 games and very little has been discussed about using up the first year of his entry level contract. He's been solid.
  • Carey Price has a 92.8 save percentage. That's pretty good.
  • Max Pacioretty has scored two goals in each of the last two games.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Montréal
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 18 Max Pacioretty 19
Assists Erik Karlsson 28 P.K. Subban 26
Points Erik Karlsson 38 P.K. Subban 33
Shots Erik Karlsson 132 Max Pacioretty 126
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:19 Andrei Markov 25:26

Category Ottawa Montréal
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.81 11th 2.52 18th
Goals Against 3.09 28th 2.26 3rd
Corsi Close % 50.4% 16th 47.7% 25th
Fenwick Close % 49.3% 17th 48.9% 21st
Shots For 33.1 2nd 28.4 23rd
Shots Against 34.2 27th 30.2 18th
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