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The Montreal Canadiens will pay their final visit of the regular season to Ottawa this evening. Tonight’s game is the Habs first against a playoff bound team since March 16th. The Ottawa Senators blew a third period lead last night in Buffalo and eventually lost in overtime. It was the first time this season the Sabres beat the Senators.


Cristobal Huet will be given the night off, in favor of David Aebischer. Aebischer has a 1-2 record with the Canadiens since being acquired for Jose Theodore from the Colorado Avalanche prior to the NHL’s trading deadline. Aebischer is 1-3 lifetime against the Senators with a 3.03 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. In goal for the Senators will be rookie Ray Emery. Emery is the most recent recipient of the NHL’s defensive player of the month award. Emery recorded his first career NHL shutout against the Canadiens on November 29th.


Alexander Perezhogin will be switching spots in the line-up with Garth Murray. Perezhogin will join Alex Kovalev and Mike Ribeiro on the second line, while Murray will be back on the third line with Tomas Plekanec and Jan Bulis.


Francis Bouillon remains the only Canadiens player unavailable to head Coach Bob Gainey due to injuries. Senators Coach Bryan Murray wishes he could make the same claim. The Senators are currently without Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Chris Phillips, Martin Havlat, Anton Volchenkov and Dominik Hasek. Despite being without their starting goalie, their top three defenseman and one of the biggest offensive weapons the Senators have not faltered in fact they have only two regulation losses in their past ten games.


The last time these two teams met the Canadiens were shutout 3-0, but that was not the embarrassing stat. Montreal was out shot 40-12 and following the game Senators goalie Dominik Hasek said that a shutout like that should not even count. That remark did not go over well in the Canadiens dressing room especially with Saku Koivu and Sheldon Souray. Since that game the Canadiens actually have a better record than the Senators. Ottawa leads the season series 4-2 and have picked up a point in five of the six games.



Fun Facts


1.       The Montreal Canadiens are just a single win away from recording back-to-back 40 win seasons. It would be the first time the Canadiens have accomplished the feat since the 93′ 94′ season.

2.       Jan Bulis is just two goals shy of twenty on the season. If he reaches that mark the Canadiens will have four twenty goal scorers for the first time since the 97′ 98′ season.

3.       The Ottawa Senators have recorded three consecutive seasons with 100+ points. The Habs have not accomplished that since 1982.