The division-rival Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators square-off for the second time this season on Tuesday, November 22 in Montreal. This is the Senators’ first visit of the season to the Bell Centre, where the Habs are essentially unbeatable. Game one of the regular season series between the two took place at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, a 4-3 Sens shootout victory.
Dating back to the preseason, where the teams met twice exchanging victories in overtime, no game has been decided in regulation between these clubs in 2015-2016.
Here are some other notes heading into Tuesday night’s contest:
Carey Price has yet to face the Senators this season, so expect him to be in nets on Tuesday to continue his stellar play at Centre Bell, where the Habs are still unbeaten in regulation time (11-0-1).
The Canadiens ended a rough week on a high. After suffering three losses, to the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers (in OT) and Carolina Hurricanes, all by one goal, the Canadiens rallied against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night and thanks to the timely return of Alexander Radulov (who was out with a virus) the Habs regained form with a 2-1 victory.
Montreal is still sitting atop the NHL standings with a 14-3-2 record as we head into game 20 of the regular season, and the team’s 30 points pit them nine points ahead of the Senators and 3 points up on the New York Rangers, their closest competition in the Eastern Conference.
After the Senators, the Habs will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in their second match against each other in under a week, followed by a visit to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Saturday.
It’s been an emotional season for the Ottawa Senators so far and the team is doing their best to play well without starting goaltender Craig Anderson, who is taking his leave in stretches to be with his wife who is battling cancer.
However, Anderson alone can’t be blamed for the Senators’ struggles of late. The team has been mired in inconsistent play since the season began and fans are still waiting for some of their top offensive players to step up (Erik Karlsson forever being the exception). A valiant effort by Anderson in last Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, in which the Sens were outshot 35-26, was undone by two blowout losses.
Mike Condon, who has played well for Ottawa in Anderson’s absence was beaten five times in a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Anderson manned the net in a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. To their credit, the Sens, despite a 40-shot barrage, couldn’t solve Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, save for Jean-Gabriel Pageau who was the only Sen to light the lamp.
After the Habs, the Senators will welcome the Boston Bruins on Thursday and the Hurricanes on Saturday in a short stretch of home games. With a 10-7-1 record, they are one point behind the Bruins (heading into Monday’s games) and three points up on the ‘Canes. These are games the Sens will want to win if they expect to be in the playoffs at season’s end.