SENATORS (5-2-1) at CANADIENS (5-2-0)
TV: CBC, RDS
Season series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. The Senators cruised to a 5-1 win against the Canadiens on Jan. 30 at Scotiabank Place.
Big story: Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban made his season debut Saturday afternoon, helping his club earn a 6-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre. Subban had an assist and a plus-1 rating in 18:01 of ice time.
Senators: Ottawa suffered a setback after last Wednesday’s impressive showing against the Canadiens, as the Sens were blanked in a 1-0 loss at Carolina on Friday. Dan Ellis stopped all 33 shots he faced for the Hurricanes.
"It was much like I thought it would be," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "It was a fast game and they went up and down the rink, and both teams skated. They got one and we got none. I thought both goalies played well and both special teams were either unlucky or the penalty killers were good. But I thought it was a good game."
Canadiens: One of the biggest reasons why the Habs failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2011-12 was their home record, as Montreal finished the season just one game above the .500 mark (16-15-10). New coach Michel Therrien is trying to rectify that, and thus far has been successful – with Saturday’s win, the Canadiens improved to 4-1-0 on home ice this season.
"I always believed this is the greatest place to play," Therrien said. "We have to play a game where we're pushing the pace, because I believe our team has speed. And pushing the pace makes it difficult on everyone. When we talk about being tough to play against, it's not only the physical aspect. It's our work ethic, our decisions with the puck, all these little things make teams tough to play against. Right now our team is buying into that."
Who’s hot: Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson was named the NHL’s First Star for January. He is 5-1-1 and has not allowed a goal after the first period in any of his seven appearances. … Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games, while fellow blueliner Raphael Diaz has eight assists.
Injury report: Ottawa is expected to be without Jason Spezza (back), Jared Cowen (hip) and Mike Lundin (broken finger). … The Canadiens are missing Max Pacioretty (appendicitis) and Petteri Nokelainen (back).
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