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Game 34 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Montréal Canadiens

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After losing a home-and-home to the Habs earlier this month, can Chabot and the Sens bounce back?

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a solid win against the Detroit Red Wings last night, the Senators are in Montréal to take on a Canadiens team sitting in the second wild-card spot, five points up.

Ottawa will be looking to get revenge for their poor play last week, and trim that differential to three points.

There are still a few line-up decisions to be made, with Guy Boucher noting during his afternoon availability that he doesn’t know whether he’ll go 11-7 like last night, or with a more balanced 12-6 against a speedy Habs group. Here’s what this means, with the question marks signifying either the return of Tom Pyatt (12F) from a healthy scratch or Christian Jaros (7D) from injury:

Tkachuk - White - Stone
Boedker - Tierney - Batherson
Dzingel - Smith - Paajarvi
McCormick - Paul - Pyatt (?)

Chabot - Harpur
Lajoie - Ceci
Falk - Burgdoefer
Jaros (?)

McKenna (starter)
Anderson

Meanwhile, here’s what we’re expecting from the opposing Canadiens:

Drouin - Domi - Shaw
Tatar - Danault - Gallagher
Byron - Kotkaniemi - Lehkonen
Agostino - Chaput - Peca

Kulak - Weber
Reilly - Petry
Benn - Juulsen

Price (starter)
Niemi

Extras: Armia (inj.)

Game notes:

  • This is fourth time and final meeting for these two teams this season. The Sens won 4-3 in overtime back in October, but suffered back-to-back 5-2 defeats last week.
  • The Senators were crushed at 5-on-5, with nine goals against and a combined CF% of ~35%. Three of the team’s worst games by shot metrics this season have come in the last two weeks (Pittsburgh being the other).
  • The biggest battles lost? Second-line (Tatar, Danault, Gallagher) and fourth-line (Agostino, Chaput, Peca). Hence, it’ll be interesting to see if Boucher decides to run the extra defenceman and stack his three lines, or if the extra defenceman is in because Montréal is capable of wearing defenders out.
  • The Habs, though, have had their struggles keeping goals out of their net, with 13 goals against in their last three games — including 4 against in their win Thursday night against Carolina. Carey Price’s save percentage (0.902%) is lower than Craig Anderson’s (0.907%), and their special teams have struggled mightily in December.
  • A couple of Senators noticeably struggled against the Habs, including Thomas Chabot and Colin White, but I’ll be looking for snake-bitten Brady Tkachuk to get on the board tonight. He’s been getting his chances, but has gone pointless in eight games. When he was drafted, I was expecting games against the Habs (and Leafs) as ones where he’d thrive. Let’s see if he can help the Sens be the peskier team tonight.
  • Chris Tierney had quieted down after a rockstar October, but potted two goals last night. With 22 points in 33 games, Tierney’s one point away from busting his second highest point season point total, and is well on his way to topping the 40 points he scored last season. With Matt Duchene potentially coming back earlier than expected, Tierney will once again be slotted correctly as the team’s third-line centre.

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Category Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 3.31 7th 2.94 18th
Goals Against/GP 3.86 31st 3.58 28th
Shots/GP 29.0 25th 33.2 6th
Shots Against/GP 38.0 31st 31.5 17th
Powerplay % 22.0 12th 17.1 21st
Penalty Kill % 73.8 30th 82.8 7th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 42.56 31st 49.64 20th
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 43.02 31st 50.32 16th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
-- Player # Player #
Goals Mark Stone 16 Kyle Palmieri 17
Assists Thomas Chabot 26 Taylor Hall 24
Points Mark Stone 39 Taylor Hall 33
Shots Thomas Chabot 94 Kyle Palmieri 106
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 24:23 Sami Vatanen 22:20