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Game 20 Preview and Open Thread: Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators

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Ottawa kicks off a five game set at home against the Montreal Canadiens.

NHL: FEB 06 Canadiens at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a five game road trip that saw the Senators tally two wins and three losses in Winnipeg and Toronto, Ottawa returns home for a five game home stand against Montreal and Calgary.

Tonight, the Senators face off against their rivals from Quebec for the first time since they split a home and home series with the Habs at the beginning of February. The good news for the Senators is that, as of late, the team is playing in closer games than they were through January. The Sens have won three of their last nine, and have lost by two or less in four of their six losses in that time. I know, the bar is low. But this is good to see.

The Senators held a morning skate today ahead of the 7pm puck drop and here’s how the lines shook out:

Tkachuk - Norris - C. Brown
Paul - White - Dadonov
Stützle - Stepan - Batherson
Peca - Tierney - Watson

Chabot - Zaitsev
Reilly - Zub
Brannstrom - Gudbranson

Murray
Daccord

Game 20 Player Stats

Game 20 Ottawa Senators Montreal Canadiens
Game 20 Ottawa Senators Montreal Canadiens
Category Player # Player #
Goals Evgenii Dadonov 6 Tyler Toffoli 11
Assists Josh Norris 7 Jonathan Drouin 10
Points Brady Tkachuk 11 Tyler Toffoli 16
Shots Brady Tkachuk 77 Brendan Gallagher 55
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:29 Shea Weber 23:28

2021 Game 20 Team Stats

Game 20 Ottawa Senators Montreal Canadiens
Game 20 Ottawa Senators Montreal Canadiens
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.32 28th 3.44 6th
Goals Against/GP 4.11 31st 2.69 13th
Shots/GP 31.9 4th 34.1 1st
Shots Against/GP 31.1 22nd 28.3 8th
Powerplay % 8.7 28th 18.4 16th
Penalty Kill % 74.6 26th 87.5 6th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.31 12th 54.77 3rd
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 48.95 20th 56.71 1st

Game Notes:

  • The fourth line left winger position has yet to be confirmed. Matthew Peca skated in that spot during morning skate but he also stayed out following the skate with the players who look to be scratch. Look for Michael Haley to hop into the lineup if Peca sits.
  • Last game, we were reminded just how much Thomas Chabot means to this blueline. Despite not skating during yesterday’s practice, Chabot was on the ice this morning and listed as Zaitsev’s partner by the TSN 1200 account - all great signs that he’ll play tonight. He’s still listed as a game time decision but it would be great to have him back in the lineup against Montreal’s strong forward group.
  • Josh Norris and Tim Stützle are one and two points, respectively, from tying for first in the rookie scoring race. With both players seeing more and more ice time, we’ll keep an eye on them tonight as they try to catch Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov.
  • DJ Smith confirmed this morning that Matt Murray will be given the start - facing off against Jake Allen. Murray has an 0.878 SV% on the season but has posted a save percentage of 0.929 or better in five of his last seven appearances in the net, including a half game against Edmonton where he stopped all nine shots in relief of Marcus Högberg.
  • The Canadiens have a record of 9-5-2 but are 5-5-0 in their last ten games. While they came out of the gate flying, they’ve lost four of their last six contests, including a 3-2 loss to Ottawa.