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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Senators

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (8-7-1) @ SENATORS (5-6-4)

The Habs will be looking to snap a three-game winless streak when they take on Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Thursday night.

In their most recent outing on Tuesday, the Canadiens dropped a 3-2 decision to the Blues in a shootout at the Bell Centre, earning another all-important point in the standings. Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival lit the lap for Montreal in regulation time, but Jaroslav Halak turned in a stellar performance to lift St. Louis to the win. Carey Price turned aside 30 shots in the loss. He will make his 14th start of the season on Thursday night against Ottawa.

In an effort to spread out the offense and stimulate more even-strength scoring, head coach Michel Therrien reset all four of his forward lines at practice on Wednesday. Max Pacioretty skated with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. Lars Eller slotted in with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. Bournival was paired with Bourque and David Desharnais, while Travis Moen returned to active duty alongside Ryan White and George Parros.

Desharnais will draw back into the Canadiens lineup on Thursday night after being a healthy scratch against the Blues earlier in the week. Moen, meanwhile, makes his return after suffering a facial fracture back on Oct. 26 against San Jose.

The Senators, meanwhile, are coming off a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in Columbus. The victory snapped Ottawa’s five-game winless streak. Paul MacLean’s contingent got goals from Erik Karlsson, Clarke MacArthur and Chris Neil, while Robin Lehner made 32 saves to register his first win of the year. Lehner will get the start in goal once again on Thursday night.

Despite mixed results to start the season, the Senators’ offence will be a force to be reckoned with. The home team has scored four or more goals in three of the past four games. Karlsson, meanwhile, leads the team in both points (17) and average ice time (27:33). Up front, Jason Spezza (16 points) and Bobby Ryan (15 points) lead the charge on offense.

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson skated on Wednesday, but said there's no timetable for him to return the lineup. He sustained a neck injury after colliding with Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin during overtime of a game on Nov. 3.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

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