Two days removed from a slashing incident that shook the bedrock of the hockey world, the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators will take to the ice tonight to play some hockey.
Lineup confirmations will come as close to game time as imaginable. Key confirmations being whether or not Mark Stone's micro-fracture will keep him out of the game, or if Max Pacioretty (who was without a tinted visor at practice this morning) has recovered from his concussion and will play his first game of the playoffs. Chris Neil maybe coming into the lineup raises some questions as to the Senators' intentions tonight, but until right before both coaches are required by NHL rules to get their official lineups submitted, we will all be left to wonder.
The Habs have the opportunity to go up 2 games to 0 in a series that before it began was touted as having the potential to go 6 or 7 games. That doesn't necessary change with a Canadiens' win tonight. The Senators are unlikely to give their opponents an easy time considering the last time they lost a game by more than 1 goal was March 29, and of their 7 losses in their last 32 games since "the streak" started only lost 3 times by more than 1 goal.
Game 1 was heart-attack-inducingly close, with shot attempts being even at 63 a side until the final minute and a half of the game when the Senators were able to rattle off 7 shot attempts but only hit the net once as the Habs blocked 5 shots to defend their lead. A scrum at the end of the game saw Kyle Turris and Tomas Plekanec getting further acquainted with one another, and then everyone else.
The bad blood has been on slow boil from the Ottawa side of things for the past 48 hours, fueled by front page news headlines in Ottawa talking about head-hunting and calculated vengeance, although coach Dave Cameron denied there was any intent to injure anyone coming from his team. With the NHL on high alert, hopefully reffing won't be a factor in tonight's game. The atmosphere at the Bell Center will undoubtedly be charged with magnetism on par with the Sun's nuclear core, and stretching far into the cosmos, the Habs and Sens are about to re-enter the pressure-intense bubble known as playoff hockey.
The puck drops at 7:00PM EST. Check back closer to 6:30 for for the updated lineups for both teams. For now, it is unknown how the Habs' formation will look with P.A. Parenteau out with an upper body injury, and Max Pacioretty's status is a game-time decision (as of 6:30 PM it's looking like Pacioretty will be in). For the Ottawa Senators, Mark Stone is likely to play as of latest reports (6:23 PM).
In Canada (French): TVA Sports
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Jacob de la Rose||Lars Eller||Dale Weise|
|Brandon Prust||Torrey Mitchell||Brian Flynn|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Manny Malholtra, Sergei Gonchar, Greg Pateryn
Injuries: P.A. Parenteau (upper body)
|Clarke MacArthur||Kyle Turris||Mark Stone|
|Milan Michalek||Mika Zibanejad||Bobby Ryan|
|Erik Condra||Jean-Gabriel Pageau||Curtis Lazar|
|Mike Hoffman||David Legwand||Alex Chiasson|
|Marc Methot||Erik Karlsson|
|Patrick Wiercioch||Cody Ceci|
|Mark Borowiecki||Eric Gryba|
Scratched: Zach Smith, Colin Greening, Jared Cowen, Chris Neil
Injuries: Robin Lehner (concussion), Chris Phillips (undisclosed), Matt Puempel (lower-body)
Check out the enemy over at Silver Seven.