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Game 45 Preview and Open Thread: Montréal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators

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After an entertaining shootout loss yesterday to the Red Wings, the Sens are back home to take on the free-falling Habs.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

With last night’s defeat to the Detroit Red Wings, the Ottawa Senators have now lost six straight, and are 2-4-4 in their last 10 games. The Montréal Canadiens have lost three straight, and are a league-worst 1-8-1 over their last 10. Only one of these teams was supposed to make the playoffs this year, but instead, only six points separates the two in the standings.

The Sens won’t practice this morning, but we expect a similar lineup on the ice for D.J. Smith’s squad. Craig Anderson will be in net, and Mark Borowiecki will likely return to the lineup in place of Andreas Englund:

Tkachuk - Pageau - Brown
Duclair - Anisimov - Batherson
Balcers - White - Ennis
Chlapik - Tierney - Namestnikov

Chabot - Hainsey
Reilly - DeMelo
Borowiecki - Goloubef

Anderson (starter)
Hogberg

The Canadiens haven’t announced who their starting goaltender will be out of Carey Price and Charlie Lindgren, but here’s how we expect them to lineup:

Tatar - Danault - Suzuki
Kovalchuk - Domi - Cousins
Lekhonen - Kotkaniemi - Weal
Poehling - Thompson - Peca

Scandella - Weber
Kulak - Petry
Mete - Fleury

Price (starter)
Lindgren

Game Notes

  • Let’s start with Montréal, because like Ottawa, they have a number of notable players injured, and that’s led to the ragtag lineup you see among their third and fourth lines. Jonathan Drouin, Joel Armia, Paul Byron, Noah Juulsen, Brendan Gallagher and Ben Chariot are all out.
  • This, in part, has led to the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk, who has lined up in an intriguing way alongside noted shithead Max Domi. He has three assists in three games with the Habs, after just nine points in 17 games with the Kings earlier this season.
  • Nick Suzuki, Ryan Poehling, and Cale Fleury are this team’s three rookies. Suzuki is having a great season in terms of point production, with 26 (4th among all rookies) in 45 games. 18 of those are assists, and you’ll definitely notice his creativity tonight. After recording a hat-trick in his first NHL game, Poehling has gone pointless in his 18 starts this season. He’s split the year between Montréal and Laval, where he has 12 points in 26 games. 20-year-old Cale Fleury has played 38 games, mainly on the Habs’ third-pair, and has recorded one goal.
  • As you’ll see in the team stats, Claude Julien’s Habs continue to be a strong team in terms of shot metrics — especially in terms of what they do on offence — but have been plagued with a low team shooting percentage and a 0.901 sv% in 36 games from Carey Price. He’s in year... two of an eight-year contract extension.
  • Ottawa’s story continues to be that the team generally doesn’t win the shot battle, but generates more quality than they give up and have players around the lineup that can pot goals if needed — buoyed by a shooting percentage bump. Last night, Colin White was able to record two points, and it’ll be a good sign for his future if he can play well in 2020. His 12 points in 37 games is 11th on the team in scoring.
  • Rudolfs Balcers played a team-low 6:58 at 5-on-5, but along with Filip Chlapik and Drake Batherson, was noticeable. As an older player (22) who has done all that he’s needed to do at the AHL level, it’ll be important for D.J. Smith to get him regular minutes.
  • Mike Reilly received the Dylan DeMelo Bump (TM) and led the team in CF% last night. He’ll likely be pumped to play against his old team, so look for him and DeMelo to have a strong game.

As always, here are some stats. Courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Calgary Flames
Ottawa Senators Calgary Flames
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair 21 Elias Lindholm 20
Assists Thomas Chabot 23 Johnny Gaudreau 25
Points Anthony Duclair 32 Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau 38
Shots Brady Tkachuk 167 Johnny Gaudreau 141
Time On Ice Thomas Chabot 26:34 Mark Giordano 24:11

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.69 24th 2.52 30th
Goals against/GP 3.36 30th 3.00 14th
Shots/GP 30.7 21st 33.1 5th
Shots against/GP 33.5 29th 29.8 6th
Powerplay % 14.3 31st 16.9 26th
Penalty Kill % 76.1 26th 77.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 48.25 26th 53.13 4th
xGF% (5v5, SVA) 49.74 19th 51.94 8th