The Montreal Canadiens (26-16-5) hit the road to face the Ottawa Senators (21-18-8) tonight at the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa.
It will be the third meeting of the Atlantic Division rivals this season, with the Senators coming out on top in both games thus far. Ottawa won the first of six meeting between the two back in November, with a convincing 4-1 victory. The two teams met again just 12 days ago, and though the Canadiens fought back to tie the game at 3 in the third, Clarke MacArthur scored the overtime winner for the Sens.
The Canadiens have alternated wins and losses since their New Year’s Eve collapse against the Carolina Hurricanes. Falling victim to the New Jersey Devils two nights ago would suggest they are due to bounce back with a victory tonight. They are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 57 points, three back of the Boston Bruins for the division lead.
The Senators have been on fire recently, getting points in seven straight with a 6-0-1 record. They currently sit just outside the playoff picture with 50 points, one point back of the New York Rangers for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
This is the first game of a four game road trip for the Canadiens. The Habs have a solid 12-8-2 record thus far as visitors, and will look to improve upon that in Ottawa, who are 11-10-4 as host.
The rivalry between these two teams heated up significantly during last season’s first round playoff matchup. The Senators bullied their way through the Canadiens in an intense, yet anticlimactic five game series. The short series contained huge hits, many controversies, line brawls and the odd your coach is a walrus comment. It really did have it all.
Seven points currently separate the division rivals, and the Senators will be heavily motivated to close that gap tonight.