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Canadiens vs. Senators: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

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The Habs and Sens begin a two-game showdown for first in the Atlantic Division.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for the top of the Atlantic Division begins with the first of three games in eight days between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens. With only one point separating these two teams in the standings, this game is the start to defining the playoff picture in the East.

Both previous matchups earlier this season resulted in a one-goal decision. The Senators won both; one in a shootout and another in regulation. It may be even more difficult for the Habs this time around, as the Senators have steadily improved since then while the Habs are still adapting under Claude Julien.

For Julien, he may finally be realizing how the team's defence corps stacks up. After Alexei Emelin's rough play recently, the Russian defenceman will be a healthy scratch. Nathan Beaulieu draws back in, returning to the left of Jordie Benn. Brandon Davidson will start alongside Jeff Petry.

Puck Drop is 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT

How to watch:

Canada (English): Sportsnet
Canada (French): TVA Sports
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecentre Live, NHL Centre Ice

Montreal Canadiens starting lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Jonathan Drouin Alex Galchenyuk
Artturi Lehkonen Tomas Plekanec Ales Hemsky
Paul Byron Phillip Danault Andrew Shaw
Charles Hudon Jacob de la Rose Brendan Gallagher

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Victor Mete Shea Weber
Karl Alzner Jeff Petry
Joe Morrow Jordie Benn

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Antti Niemi
Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: Alexei Emelin, Andreas Martinsen, Michael McCarron

Injured: Nikita Nesterov (lower body), Brian Flynn (upper body)

Ottawa Senators starting lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Evander Kane Jack Eichel Jason Pominville
Benoit Pouliot Ryan O'Reilly Kyle Okposo
Zemgus Girgensons Sam Reinhart Seth Griffith
Johan Larsson Jacob Josefson Jordan Nolan

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Nathan Beaulieu Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella Matt Tennyson
Jake McCabe Viktor Antipin

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Robin Lehner
Chad Johnson

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson , Jyrki Jokipakka, Christopher DiDomenico

Injured: Mark Stone (lower body), Chris Neil (broken finger)