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Game 62 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens

SATURDAY, SATURDAY, SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT!

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2021-22 season might not be unfolding how we would have hoped, but even in these dark times fans of the Ottawa Senators will get up for a Saturday night tilt against the rival Montreal Canadiens. No matter the broader context, it’s always a good thing to beat the Habs. A win tonight would help make everything just a little bit easier.

The Sens are coming off a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers that featured some of their best play of late. Sure, it’s just the Flyers, and sure, their already weak lineup was without Claude Giroux, but it was encouraging to see many of the players that are supposed to carry the Sens in the years to come making the types of plays we’ve all been hoping for. In particular, the play of Tim Stützle and Erik Brännström was quite encouraging as both put on dominant displays with and without the puck. More of that, please.

The Habs, meanwhile, have been somewhat rejuvenated under interim coach Martin St. Louis. Certainly Cole Caufield, the Habs’ vaunted prospect, has seemingly regained his form with 21 points in the 16 games since the coaching change. For the Sens, keeping Caufield and Nick Suzuki in check will be the number one priority.

With Ottawa playing, and winning, last night, there aren’t expected to be any changes to the line-up for this evening besides Filip Gustavsson getting the start in net. Dillon Heatherington has been recalled from the AHL Belleville Senators but won’t play unless something changes before puck drop (which it might this time of year!)

Game Notes:

  • Since the aforementioned coaching change in Montreal, the Habs have gone from total fiasco (8-30-7 under Dominique Ducharme) to mediocre (8-6-2 under Martin St. Louis). The last overall finish that seemed virtually guaranteed just six weeks ago is now in jeopardy.
  • Carey Price has rejoined the Canadiens at practice, though it appears he still some ways from making a return to the line-up.
  • Alex Formenton’s goal and an assist last night must have felt like sweet relief to the speedy young forward as he was in the midst of a terrible scoring drought with just four points in his previous eighteen games. With Formenton, it’s virtually never a question of whether he’s getting chances, so it was nice to see some bounces go his way.
  • The Sens are, of course, going to miss Thomas Chabot but last night’s effort from the Brännström-Zub pairing was sensational: the Sens out-attempted the Flyers 29-10 (!) with the top duo on the ice and the two looked very comfortable working together on the breakout.
  • Puck Drop is 7 PM ET, and you can watch on SN360, SNE, TVAS, or follow along on TSN1200 radio.

Statistics:

As always, stats are courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 33 Jared McCann 25
Assists Tim Stützle 32 Yanni Gourde 26
Points Brady Tkachuk 59 Jared McCann, Yanni Gourde (tied) 43
Shots Brady Tkachuk 261 Jared McCann 174
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot (inj.) 26:23 Adam Larsson 22:10

Team Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.71 26th 2.57 29th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 23rd 3.47 24th
Shots/GP 30.3 20th 28.8 31st
Shots Against/GP 33.2 25th 29.1 5th
Powerplay % 19.7 21st 14.3 29th
Penalty Kill % 80.5 13th 75.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 47.91 21st 49.03 19th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 47.10 24th 47.34 23rd