After having the past three days off, the Montreal Canadiens will be thrown right back into the thick of things tonight as they kick-off a weekend back-to-back that sees them up against the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators, of course, have been posing a threat to the Habs’ division lead, briefly taking hold of first place earlier this week. With two games in consecutive nights between the clubs, this weekend could be a decisive one when it comes to playoff matchups and home-ice advantage.
Having had plenty of time to shake out any kinks from Tuesday’s loss to Chicago, the expectation has to be a strong showing this evening. The Sens do hold a game in hand and trail by a single point, making it imperative that the Habs come out of this weekend with positive results if they want to enter next week still on top.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|52.50||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||48.12|
|1.15||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.94|
The Senators had been having a really strong month of March up until this week, where they’ve thus far dropped their only two games, one in overtime. Before that, though, the Sens had won all six of their games this month, which put them in a position to overtake the Habs for the Atlantic Division lead.
Erik Karlsson has once again been the Senators’ leader both offensively and defensively, pushing for yet another Norris Trophy (though Brent Burns may have other plans). Karlsson’s 63 points make him the only other blue-liner in the league’s top 20 for scoring, and only Connor McDavid has more assists.
Unfortunately for Ottawa, they remain without Mark Stone, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Stone has scored 22 goals and 50 points this season, making him a central figure in the Senators’ offence.
The Sens still boast some threats in his absence, including Mike Hoffman and Kyle Turris, who have 49 and 45 points, respectively. Deadline acquisition Alexandre Burrows has also provided a bit more offence than expected in the small sample size we’ve seen from him in a Sens jersey, putting up six points in just eight games.
The interesting thing to keep an eye on this weekend will be the Senators’ goaltending situation. Craig Anderson is day-to-day with an injury and could return at any time, with a back-to-back providing a good opportunity for that. Mike Condon, however, has stepped up big for the Senators while Anderson was away this year, making for an interesting matchup should the Habs square off against a familiar face.