How to watch
Start time: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet
In the Canadiens region: RDS (French)
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Unable to get anything going on Saturday versus the New Jersey Devils, the Montreal Canadiens looked more engaged on Tuesday night versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. A bit of a fitful start that had them down 1-0 early was quickly cleaned up, and Montreal controlled the play for much of the remaining time. Unfortunately, that possession only resulted in two goals for the team, while the opportunistic hosts responded with five, turning every error into a goal to break things open the third.
It was a frustrating result, especially when looking back to a victory by the same score versus the league-leading Washington Capitals just a few days ago, but there was little to complain about in terms of team effort, other than the handful of turnovers that led to goals against.
Replicating that same performance on a different night could have easily ended in a mirrored result in Montreal’s favour. They will aim for the same control of possession as they head back to the Bell Centre to begin a five-game homestand versus the Ottawa Senators this evening.
Tale of the Tape
|3-0-1||H2H Record (18-19)||1-3-0|
|53.0% (5th)||Corsi-for pct.||47.4% (26th)|
|3.43 (8th)||Goals per game||2.81 (20th)|
|3.14 (19th)||Goals against per game||3.24 (24th)|
|19.7% (16th)||PP%||8.3% (31st)|
|71.2% (31st)||PK%||82.7% (14th)|
The Senators may be near the bottom of the standings, but they head to Montreal on a run of good form. After claiming just one win in their first eight games, they haven’t strung consecutive losses together since.
They haven’t exactly had a tough schedule over the past few weeks, not so much facing the who’s who of the NHL as the “who’s that?” Nevertheless, those who follow the Canadiens are in no position to diminish victories versus the bottom-feeders of the league, and the Senators are simply hoovering up the points that are presented to them in this part of their schedule.
Like the Canadiens, the Senators played last night on the road. In a battle of the bottom two teams in the league, they handed the Detroit Red Wings a 13th loss of the season by hanging on for a 4-3 win.
Anthony Duclair had two goals in the game, and is now up to nine on the year. His game appears to be coming together with his fifth NHL franchise. While Max Domi deals with a lull in his production and an uptick in discipline issues, his former Team Canada and Arizona linemate is heating up. Seeing Duclair on the opposite side of the ice could be what really kicks Domi into the top gear he showed to start the season, and with the way Nick Suzuki is playing as his pivot, that could be the line to pay attention to tonight.
Duclair’s nine goals would tie him for the lead in Montreal, but he still lags behind the pace of Ottawa’s top goal-scorer. That is a man all too familiar to Canadiens fans: Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
In the early years of his career, Pageau only seemed to score when he was up against Montreal, usually when his team was outnumbered on a penalty kill. This season — without even facing the Canadiens yet — Pageau is up to 12 goals through 21 games, riding a shooting percentage more than double his career mark. He’s really playing his contract-year card well, and should end up on a Stanley Cup contender before the year is done.
The Canadiens represent a chance for Ottawa to prove their current play is just as effective versus playoff teams as lottery hopefuls, and a trip to the Bell Centre always gets a team amped up to play. That level of competition, coupled with a home crowd eager to see their team play at the level they’ve proven capable of this season, should combine for another entertaining chapter in this Atlantic Division rivalry.