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Game 31 Preview: Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators

Gearing up for the NHL 100 Classic.

2017 NHL Scotiabank 100 Classic - Practice Sessions Photo by Jana Chytilova/Getty Images/Freestyle Photo

In celebration of 100 years of the NHL, the Ottawa Senators will face the Montreal Canadiens in a rematch of the league’s first ever game. Montreal won that contest 7-4 way back in December 1917, although Ottawa has the winning record in the historical matchup: 118 wins, 108 losses, 8 overtime/shootout losses and 15 ties.

The Sens have slipped to the bottom of the standings in the last month, and will look to build off of Wednesday’s 3-2 win against the Rangers. Also climbing back and looking for third in the Atlantic is Montreal, who have been winning games since Carey Price’s return from injury. Getting past Price will be Ottawa’s biggest obstacle, especially with an offence that has been slumping as of late.

Guarding the crease for Ottawa will be Craig Anderson. The only other roster move is Alex Burrows coming back into the lineup in place of Nick Paul. Here are the expected combos based on what was used against the Rangers:

Ryan - Duchene - Stone
Smith - Pageau - Pyatt
Hoffman - Brassard - Dzingel
Dumont - Thompson - Burrows

Oduya - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Claesson - Chabot

Anderson (starter)

Here are some notes:

  • The first game in 1917 featured duelling hat tricks from Ottawa’s Cy Denneny (3 goals, 1 assist) and Joe Malone (5 goals). Ottawa’s Hamby Shore also had two assists on the evening. The goalie matchup: Clint Benedict vs Georges Vezina.
  • This will be Ottawa’s first time hosting an outdoor game. They’re 1-0-0 in all outdoor venues, however, defeating the Canucks in Vancouver for the 2014 Heritage Classic.
  • Yesterday was the Senators’ alumni game, taking place on Parliament Hill, with Team Alfie defeating Team Phillips by a score of 12-3. Highlights include four goals from Alexandre Daigle, a show-stopping performance from Patrick Lalime, and no shortage of “Alfie” chants.
  • To the delight of Matt Duchene, it’s going to be a cold day in Ottawa. The current forecast for 7:00p.m. is -11, with the windchill bringing that down to around -17.
  • On to actual hockey stuff, the Senators have been snowballing downwards in November/December, with the offence, defence and goaltending all frozen. The game against New York showed signs of hope, although there’s still clearly a lot of work to be done.
  • The Sens have far and away the most local players on their roster, which should make for a fun weekend for that group in particular. All of Derick Brassard, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki (injured) and Matt Duchene (sort of) are from the capital region. Some players shared their stories of outdoor hockey on the Sens’ website.
  • The outdoor weather won’t be making Boucher’s hot seat any colder either, although Pierre Dorion recently assured in a media conference that he’s here to stay.
  • And because it wouldn’t be a complete Sens season without it, Melnyk said some stuff to the media yesterday at the worst possible time. Watch at your own risk, although spoiler: the hashtag #MelnykOut is now trending in Ottawa.

Here are some stats, from and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st