Fresh off a dramatic win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators welcome another division rival to Scotiabank Place on Monday night.
The Sens close out a four game home stand tonight when they welcome Carey Price and the Eastern Conference leading Montreal Canadiens. Tonight marks the third of four games between the two teams this season. Ottawa scored a 5-1 victory over Montreal back on January 30th while the Habs returned the favour with a 2-1 win at the Bell Centre of February 3rd .
The Montreal Canadiens have to be considered one of the biggest surprises of the NHL season thus far. Under new Head Coach Michel Terrien, the Canadiens have burst out of the gates posting a 12-4-2 record and an equally impressive 4-1-1 record on the road. While offence hasn’t been coming easy for the Habs, they are 4th in the league in goals against per game (2.11) which has been a huge factor in their early success.
Meanwhile the Senators continue to play well in the face of serious injury concerns.
Despite having their number one goalie, top line centre, leading goal scorer, top shutdown defenceman and a 30 minute a night Norris Trophy winner out of the line up, Ottawa continues to find ways to win games. Full credit to Head Coach Paul MacLean for keeping his team focused and motivated during what could have been a crippling stretch. MacLean has to be the early favourite for Coach of the Year.
No line up changes expected for the Sens. Peter Regin skated this morning but will not play. Mike Lundin was supposed to play on Saturday night but is battling the flu. He did skate this morning but Andre Benoit will play after a solid outing on Saturday night.
Here is how MacLean lined them up at the morning skate;
Ben Bishop, who was just named the NHL’s third star of the week, gets a second consecutive start in goal for the Senators. There were some fans hoping to see Lehner get the start in this one but it’s hard to take Bishop out after a big win on Saturday night. Carey Price is expected to start for the Canadiens.
Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM with the game available on Sportsnet, RDS and the radio at The Team 1200.
- A positive development on the injury front as word is Jason Spezza skated briefly prior to the morning skate. Spezza obviously still has a ways to go in rehab from back surgery but this is certainly a step in the right direction. Early April was the initial target for a return. Craig Anderson also skated briefly today.