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Game 70 preview: Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators

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Let the battle for Atlantic Division commence!

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens visit the Ottawa Senators tonight for part one of this weekend’s home-and-home. Both teams securely hold the top two spots in the Atlantic division, with the Habs currently a single point ahead with one more game played. A win for Ottawa tonight would vault them back into first place, although Montreal could take the spot right back with a win tomorrow.

Although Ottawa’s dropped their last two games by a score of 2-1, they’re not far removed from their six-game win streak that started after the trade deadline. Mark Stone is still out and listed as week-to-week, whereas Mark Borowiecki and Craig Anderson could both possibly be making their returns from injury tonight. Mike Condon is the likely starter, although with Chris Driedger sent back down to Binghamton, Andy should be ready for tomorrow.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for tonight, from DailyFaceoff:

Smith - Turris - Ryan
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Dzingel - Brassard - Burrows
Stalberg - Kelly - Wingels

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman

Condon (starter)
Anderson

Here are some notes for tonight:

  • The previous meeting between these two teams was back on November 22nd, when the Sens won 5-4 with Karlsson scoring the game winner. It was Pageau’s first regular season game against the Habs without a point since December of 2014 (703 days).
  • Although Condon’s lost his last two starts, he stopped 61 of his last 65 shots versus Tampa and Chicago. Anderson is still Ottawa’s bona fide #1 starter, although it’s great to have a solid secondary goalie who we can occasionally rely on.
  • Tonight’s match will also be Condon’s first game against his former team, as Anderson got the call for the two previous games. He had a .938 SV% in the two games he played against the Sens last season.
  • I imagine I’m not the only one who’s frustrated to see Fredrik Claesson back in the press box. Not only has Borowiecki been one of the worst defensemen in the league, but Claesson’s been on fire. He has four points in his last five games (Boro has four points in his last 121 games), and he’s even been hitting a lot too, with 14 hits during his five games filling in.
  • After scoring three points in his first four games as a Senator, Viktor Stalberg has gone without a goal or assist in his last four games. He’s had only three shots on goal in that span.
  • Moving over to the Habs, they’re coming in rested from a three-day break, after losing to Chicago on Tuesday 4-2.
  • Montreal’s deadline acquisitions haven’t been quite as successful as Ottawa. Steve Ott has a lone assist in his first five games as a Hab, whereas Dwight King has failed to register a point in six games.
  • One player who’s been really hot, however, is Paul Byron. He has five goals in his last six games, although he’s been shooting at 55.6%.
  • Carey Price will be starting tonight. He has a career .917 SV% against the Sens, although since the start of 2013-14, that number’s dropped to .882 in seven starts.
  • This is the Sens’ fourth last home game of the season, with a dozen games to go.

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

Category Ottawa Montreal
Player # Player #
Goals Kyle Turris 23 Max Pacioretty 33
Assists Erik Karlsson 50 Alexander Radulov 32
Points Erik Karlsson 63 Max Pacioretty 60
Shots Mike Hoffman 192 Max Pacioretty 236
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 26:42 Shea Weber 25:14

Category

Ottawa Montreal
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.61 19th 2.70 17th
Goals Against 2.55 9th 2.49 8th
Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 48.12% 22nd 52.50% 4th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 48.30% 24th 52.05% 4th
Shots For 30.1 17th 29.7 21st
Shots Against 30.3 16th 29.8 10th