After a successful three game road trip to open the season the Canadiens will play their first home game of the season tonight against the struggling Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens picked up five of a possible six points on their three game road trip with wins coming in Toronto and Philadelphia and a shootout loss coming in Buffalo. The Senators on the other hand set a franchise record loosing their first three home games of the season. After winning their season opener in Toronto 4-1 the Senators have scored just three goals in their three consecutive losses to Toronto, Buffalo and Calgary.
On the injury front for the Canadiens both Craig Rivet and Alex Kovalev missed practice yesterday for precautionary reasons but both are listed as likely to crack the roster. The Senators have just a single injury as Joe Corvo is out with a fractured right foot.
Alex Kovalev got the monkey off his line mates back when he scored what turned out to be the game winning goal Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Kovalev did not skate in Canadiens practice yesterday as he is recovering from a Charlie horse but he is expected to be in the line-up. Should Kovalev decide to rest his leg another few days Guillaume Latendresse will be given a shot on the 2nd line with Plekanec and Samsonov. Craig Rivet also missed practice as he is ailing from a hand contusion suffered in Toronto blocking a shot. Rivet is also expected to be ready to go tomorrow night.
The Senators will make one line-up change tomorrow as Alexei Kaigorodov will make his NHL debut this evening, Kaigorodov will replace Brian McGrattan centering the forth line with Patrick Eves and Chris Kelly on his flanks. Senators coach Murray will also look to shake up the Senators power play which is 29th in the league running below 5%.
Both the Senators and Canadiens will start goalies who are yet to record a win this season. Ray Emery will start his second consecutive game after putting up a solid 27 save performance allowing just one goal Thursday night when the Senators hosted the Calgary Flames. Cristobal Huet made 33 saves in a loosing effort to the Buffalo Sabres eight days ago will be in goal for home opener hearing the roar of 21,273 fans chanting his name before the puck drops.
1- Ray Emery recorded his first career NHL shutout against the Canadiens last season on November 29th.
2- A year ago the Canadiens lost their Home Opener to the Senators 4-2. Senators’ captain had a pair of goals one on the power play and the other short handed to ensure the victory. Jose Theodore was in goal for the Canadiens with Emery in goal for the Senators.
3- Each team won 4 of 8 games in last years season series. The Canadiens have not won a season series against the Senators since 2001-2002.