Senators aim to break through against Canadiens
SENATORS (6-6-1) at CANADIENS (8-4-1)
TV: CBC, RDS (HD)
Ottawa 6-4-0; Montreal 7-3-0
This marks the third meeting of the season between the two rivals. Montreal bested Ottawa twice so far, winning 4-3 (Oct. 16 in Montreal) and 3-0 (Oct. 23 in Ottawa). The Canadiens have outshot the Senators 74-38 in the two games. Andrei Kostitsyn has scored three goals and added an assist in the two games against the Sens.
Ottawa's Jason Spezza
is coming off a huge performance against the New York Islanders on Thursday night in which he scored a goal and added three helpers for his first points since returning from injury.
The Senators have won four of their previous five games, including the first two games of November. The recent solid play has lifted the club just outside the top eight in the Eastern Conference, a monumental achievement given the team's poor start, during which GM Bryan Murray considered tweaking the roster via trade. Captain Daniel Alfredsson
leads the way for the Sens with 13 points in 13 games.
Sens Blog Central
The Habs got back on the winning track after dropping consecutive games, using a pair of second-period goals by Benoit Pouliot to edge the Sabres 3-2 on Friday. The win allowed Montreal to extend its lead in the Northeast Division and tie for second in the Eastern Conference.
After a rough start with his new team, defenceman Sergei Gonchar
is finally getting comfortable in a Sens sweater. The offensive defenseman has registered points in six of his past eight games and has been a key part of Ottawa's recent surge … Jeff Halpern has two goals and five assists in his last five games for the Canadiens.
Injury report: Milan Michalek
remains sidelined for the Senators with tendinitis in his left knee — though he did participate in today's morning skate — while Tomas Plekanec has been battling an illness for the Habs but is expected back in in the Montreal lineup tonight.
Montreal ranks eighth on the penalty kill, while its power play is much less effective, ranked second-to-last with a 7.1-percent conversion rate.
With a win, the Senators can gain ground on the Canadiens in the division, while Montreal has the chance to go 3-for-3 against Ottawa this season ... Brian Elliott
makes his 10th straight start in goal for the Senators ... Forward Zack Smith has been recalled after playing for the Binghamton Senators on Friday night against the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Bell Centre.