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Game 56 Preview: Montreal Canadiens at the Ottawa Senators

The Habs pay a vist to the Canadian Tire Centre for a mid-Feburary tilt with the Sens

Flashback to the last meeting between the two teams
Flashback to the last meeting between the two teams
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the Senators have nowhere to go but up after a disastrous outing against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.  The bad news is that they'll have to do it without either of their regular goalies, or Clarke MacArthur. With Craig Anderson already on the shelf, the Sens suffered a serious blow when both MacArthur and Robin Lehner were injured in a collision in the second period of Monday's game. The result is that Andrew Hammond will get his first career NHL start, and Chris Driedger will serve as his back-up. For those of you scratching your heads as to who, exactly, Driedger is, our own B_T had a write-up yesterday.

For Montreal, the beat goes on: a sparkling 37-15-4 mark for 78 points and the top spot in the Eastern Conference. If you're a glass half-full fan of the Habs, you'd have to think they must be doing something right to have that kind of record. If you're a glass half-empty fan, you might point to Carey Price's sparkling .935 SV% as covering up some serious holes. It sounds strange to say, but Ottawa has gotten the better of the play at 5v5 this season, at least when compared to Montreal. With Dustin Tokarski starting in Price's place tonight, don't be surprised if the Sens make more of a game of it than you might expect from glancing at the standings.

Ottawa's projected line-up:

Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan

Michalek - Turris - Stone

Prince - Legwand - Chiasson

Lazar - Pageau  - Condra

Methot - Karlsson

Cowen - Ceci

Borowiecki - Gryba

Andrew Hammond (starter)

Chris Driedger

Some notes for tonight's game:

  • Shane Prince had a fantastic debut on Monday, getting his first  career point and showing flashes of the speed and skill that earned him the opportunity in the first place
  • The revolving door of defensemen continues as Patrick Wiercioch comes out and Mark Borowiecki draws back. It's a shame because the Wiercioch - Cody Ceci pairing had been showing some promise, albeit it in sheltered minutes. Cowen-Ceci has been not so great in their time together but they'll get another kick at the can tonight
  • For your Habs-themed preview, check out Eyes on the Prize.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except for Corsi and Fenwick, which are from naturalstattrick.com.

Category Ottawa Montreal
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 20 Max Pacioretty 26
Assists Bobby Ryan 28 P.K Subban 29
Points Bobby Ryan 42 Max Pacioretty 48
Shots Erik Karlsson 202 Max Pacioretty 213
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 26:58 P.K Subban 25:58

Category Ottawa Montreal
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.76 14th 2.57 23rd
Goals Against 2.78 21st 2.18 1st
Corsi % 50.18% 18th 49.26% 22nd
Fenwick % 48.12% 23rd 49.32% 20th
Shots For 30.2 14th 28.3 25th
Shots Against 32.5 26th 30.3 22nd