The Montreal Canadiens are in familiar territory.
The team embarks on an eight-game road trip, highlighted by the NHL 100 Classic, taking place in Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. This will be the organization’s fourth outdoor game, with the first happening in 2003 against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Habs are 2-1-0 all time in outdoor games, with the most recent game being the NHL Winter Classic in 2015 against the Boston Bruins. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators have only one game of experience in this scenario, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at BC Place in 2014.
Despite the growing number of outdoor games lately, they are a spectacle and provide great entertainment, and should be a treat for both Canadiens and Senators fans alike. However, there are still two points on the table, and these Atlantic Division rivals are both pushing for the same result.
Montreal snapped a three-game losing skid two nights ago against the New Jersey Devils, despite a tough start to the game. Carey Price seemed to be back in form following a few questionable performances, and goals from Andrew Shaw and Tomas Plekanec brought the Habs back to the win column in their final home game of 2017.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French),
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice, NBCSN
Tale of the Tape
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Ottawa, on the other hand, has gone through a tumultuous last few weeks. A 2-5-0 record in their last seven games has been overshadowed by talk of superstar defencemen Erik Karlsson and his upcoming contract negotiations, rumours swirling around owner Eugene Melynk and past conversations with now-Predator Kyle Turris, as well as a possible sale (or relocation?) of the franchise.
Despite snapping a five-game losing streak against the Rangers, the team has hit rock bottom. Karlsson doesn't seem to be performing at 100%, and criticism of the team's forward core has been growing, especially due to the success Turris has had in Nashville versus Matt Duchene's struggles in Ottawa. Duchene only has five points in 13 games so far. It doesn’t help that his running mate Bobby Ryan has struggled this year too, with only 11 points in 22 games so far.
However, not all is negative in the nation’s capital, as both Mark Stone, with 27 points in 30 games, and Mike Hoffman have had remarkable years.
Montreal has dominated Ottawa so far this season, with a 2-0 record against their nearby rivals, and have scored 10 goals against them in the process. It’ll be interesting to see how the outdoor conditions affect the game, especially with temperatures looking to drop to a low of -19 degrees Celsius.