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Canadiens vs Senators

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Power-play woes continue to confound Senators

OTTAWA – An anemic power play has been a thorn in the side of the Ottawa Senators for some time. Now, as the Senators to prepare to face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), the team and its coach were forced to address the issue yet again. .

"It's no secret; we're going to try and get shots and bodies in front," team captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We've had a couple of good looks on and off, but it hasn't been consistent and I believe, especially on the road, it's even more important to have the power play give you a spark. [In Game 2] we had our chances right before the [Canadiens] scored in the second period, and if we had scored there, it could have been the difference in the game."

But that spark never came, leading to more of the same for the Senators this season. During the final eight regular-season games, Ottawa went 2-for-29 on the man advantage -- the Senators were 25-for-157 for the season, leaving it tied with the New Jersey Devils for 20th in the League with a 15.9 percentage rating.

Through two postseason games, the Senators have had nine shots during six power plays. The penalty kill of the Canadiens finished No. 23, in the regular season, with zero shorthanded goals. However, in addition to the lack of power-play success, Ottawa has also faced seven shorthanded shots from Montreal so far in the series. When coach Paul MacLean was confronted with the opinion that his power play has been "horrific", MacLean was forced to agree.

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 3:02 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean responds: 'I might be husky, but I'm not fat'

OTTAWA -- In what was easily Paul MacLean's most entertaining press conference since he became the coach of the Ottawa Senators, MacLean addressed the status of Jason Spezza, his line combinations and recent comments by Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust after Ottawa's optional practice Saturday afternoon.

The Senators square off against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Sunday at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

MacLean said Spezza, who has been recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc sustained on Jan. 27, took a "public skate" Saturday morning but is no closer to entering the lineup.

Kyle Turris, who has been serving as the Senators' first-line center since Spezza's injury, has been moved around several times in the postseason lineup. In Game 2, Jean-Gabriel Pageau saw time on the top line, leading some media to wonder if MacLean was unhappy with Turris' performance.

"Kyle's had a tremendous season, and he's played hard in the playoffs," MacLean said. "A lot of times, when we move him around, it's to get a different look for him and against a different set of defensemen. If they're playing their best guys against them, maybe we put him against their next-best guys. Those are the types of things we’re doing to generate offense."

Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 7:20 PM

By Staff -  / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Pacioretty, Gionta out of Game 2 for Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens, already missing center Lars Eller, are without top forwards Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta due to upper-body injuries Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

Pacioretty, who led the team in scoring in the regular season with 39 points, was a plus-1 with four shots on goal in 19:59 of ice time in the Canadiens' 4-2 loss in Game 1 Thursday.

Gionta, the Canadiens' captain, was a minus-2 with two shots on goal in 16:09 of ice time in Game 1.

Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 5:27 PM

By Staff -  / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Canadiens' Eller released from hospital

The Montreal Canadiens announced Friday that center Lars Eller has been released from the hospital.

Eller was removed from the ice on a stretcher during the second period of Game 1 of the Canadiens' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators after he was hit by Ottawa's Eric Gryba.

The team announced Thursday that Eller had been hospitalized after sustaining a concussion, facial fractures, loss of consciousness and had teeth knocked out after the hit and falling face-first to the ice.

Gryba was assessed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct for the hit, and has been suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean switches Senators' defense pairings

MONTREAL -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean made a minor tweak to his defense pairings Thursday in advance of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

MacLean decided to put together veterans Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips, while Jared Cowen and Eric Gryba will form another pairing, leaving the top duo of Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot intact.

"I don't think it's going to [change] much because we've been doing it through the season," Gonchar said. "It's not like it's the first time going into the playoffs. It's not a new thing for us."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 5:51 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Phillips, Michalek to play Game 1 for Senators

MONTREAL -- The Ottawa Senators will have veterans Chris Phillips and Milan Michalek in the lineup when they take on the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, coach Paul MacLean said after practice Wednesday.

Phillips left the final game of the regular season against the Boston Bruins on Sunday with what general manager Bryan Murray later called a tweaked knee. He and Michalek were given the day off from practice Tuesday but were on the ice Wednesday and will be in uniform when the Senators start their series against the Canadiens on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, CNBC).

“They’re all green-lighted,” MacLean said.

For the Canadiens, coach Michel Therrien has decided to scratch veterans Jeff Halpern and Colby Armstrong, barring any last-minute changes. Montreal's fourth line will consist of Ryan White at center with Travis Moen and Brandon Prust on the wings.

Here are the lines and defense pairings from Wednesday’s practices:

Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Senators' Michalek, Phillips given day of rest

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators hit the ice Tuesday for the first time since the end of the regular season, but there were two key pieces missing.

Defenseman Chris Phillips and forward Milan Michalek did not skate, but coach Paul MacLean said the veterans were taking maintenance days and were expected to practice Wednesday in Montreal. Their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Canadiens starts Thursday at Bell Centre.

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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