Montreal Canadiens (3-2-1) at Ottawa Senators (2-4-1) – October 23, 2010
The Montreal Canadiens will be looking to bounce back from a discouraging
loss as they visit their divisional foes, the Ottawa Senators, this Saturday.
The Habs were blanked 3-0 by the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, and looked
sluggish despite a four-day break between games. The Senators are fresh
off a 4-2 victory in Buffalo, where team captain, Daniel Alfredsson, recorded
his career 1000th point this past Friday. The two teams met just one week
ago in Montreal, and the Habs erased a two-goal deficit to edge the Senators
Carey Price (3-2-1, 2.64 GAA, .907 SV%) will start his 7th straight game for
Montreal, while Brian Elliott (2-2-0, 3.84 GAA, .888 SV%) will likely start for
the 2nd consecutive night with Pascal Leclaire still injured. Price
recorded 16 saves for the win last Saturday, and is a career 5-4-0 against the
Senators with a 2.77 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.
Elliott is 3-2-1 with a 3.11 goals-against average and .901 save percentage
all-time versus the Habs.
Montreal’s top scorers consist of Tomas Plekanec (2-3-5), Andrei Kostitsyn
(2-2-4) and Mike Cammalleri (2-1-3), and would greatly benefit from some
secondary scoring. As evidenced as recently as in the loss to the Devils,
the Canadiens struggle to win when their top line is shut down, and goals are
needed desperately from the likes of Scott Gomez (1-1-2) and Brian Gionta
(1-1-2). Daniel Alfredsson (4-4-8) leads the way for the Sens, with
support from Jason Spezza (1-4-5) and Sergei Gonchar (0-4-4). Both teams
struggle to score consistently, ranking among the league’s worst with
goals-per-game, with Montreal (2.33) bearing a slight edge over Ottawa (2.29).
Montreal’s lack of offense can be partially explained by a horrendous
powerplay, as the team’s 5% conversion rate is ranked 29th in the NHL.
After a similar struggle-laden start, Ottawa’s powerplay has improved to
mid-pack efficiency, going 14.3% with the man advantage. Conversely,
Montreal features one of the league’s best on the penalty-kill, boasting a 91.7%
efficiency rate and allowing just 2 goals with the man-disadvantage over 6
games. Ottawa’s penalty-kill ranks 17th with a 82.8% success rate.
Montreal remains without the services of Andrei Markov (knee), but it is
widely thought that he will return to action at some point next week.
Ottawa will be missing Filip Kuba (leg) and Pascal Leclaire (groin). Jason
Spezza remains uncertain for tonight’s contest after missing Friday’s game with
a lingering groin injury.
The game begins at 7pm EST, and can be seen on CBC and RDS
This preview was written by Matt