“Game of the Night” is a feature that takes a daily look at the best game on the NHL schedule, and sets it up for you. So y’know, you should probably watch the game below. This is brought to you by the Werner Ladder Company (check out their hockey vid here), because how else do you think the bulbs in the red goal light get changed?
Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators: 13-8-5 (last 10: 5-2-3) – fifth in East
Montreal Canadiens: 17-5-4 (last 10: 6-1-3) – first in East
Detroit vs. Calgary includes Calgary (dead last in West), and the Flyers/Devils #7-seed vs. #11-seed match-up can’t quite hang.
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST
Need to know:
* The Senators list of injured players has them to the point where they’re hanging off a ledge by one hand in a movie, and you can tell they’re about to go bye-bye. They have one win in their last six.
* PK Subban has three goals and seven assists for ten points in his last seven games. He’s up to 4th in D scoring (18 in 20 games), despite having the fewest games played of anyone in the top-20.
* Daniel Alfredsson has two points in his last eight games, and Kyle Turris just snapped a 21-game goal drought (via NHL.com). Over their past six contests, the Sens only have 13 goals.
* Montreal is returning home after five game road trip, on which they went 4-1 and scored 20 times. Going back a couple games more, they’ve scored 31 goals over their past seven. Which is like, lots of goals.
Injuries (via NHL.com):
The Senators are without Karlsson, Spezza, goaltender Craig Anderson, left wing Dave Dziurzynski, defenseman Mike Lundin, who are all on injured reserve. Left wing Milan Michalek will also miss the game with a recurring knee injury. … The Canadiens are missing Diaz and Bourque, both out with concussions, and Prust is out with a separated shoulder. Center Petteri Nokelainen (lower body) still has not played this season.
Lehner has seen a lot of rubber in his four starts, but has only managed to win one game despite putting up great numbers (1.89 GAA and .947 SV%).
Price has won each of his last two starts against two teams (CAR and TBL) that rank in the top 5 in the NHL in scoring. In those two starts he posted a 2.50 GAA and .924 SV%.
What I’m looking forward to:
A thing I didn’t predict writing this season: I’m looking forward to watching the Habs offense. The additions of the Gally’s – Galchenyuk and Gallagher – have made them eminently more interesting for me. They’ve always had some pretty talented offensive forwards with the likes of Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta, Tomas Plekanec and even David Desharnais, but I feel like the two rookies (along with the health of Andrei Markov) have pushed them over the top.
I like the Habs to win largely because of the Senators injury situation. No team can survive the loss of their top-end skill guys for long, and they’re starting to show signs of a slide. …Okay, they’re sort of already in one.
Game of the Night prediction record:
Ducks beat the Wild 2-1 last night by weathering the storm early (including having a puck roll on its edge across the goal-line), then scoring late in the third to go up one.