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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Senators

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (37-15-4) @ SENATORS (22-23-10)

The Canadiens will wrap up their relatively short two-game road swing on Wednesday night in Ottawa with a tilt against the Senators.

In their last outing on Monday night in Detroit, Michel Therrien’s troops won a defensive battle by a score of 2-0 over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Tomas Plekanec scored with less than three minutes remaining in the third period, beating goaltender Jimmy Howard with a blast from the slot. Max Pacioretty capped the scoring with an empty-netter to pick up his second point of the game. Carey Price was outstanding once again, turning aside all 25 shots he faced to earn his 32nd win of the season and his fifth shutout of the 2014-15 campaign. It was also the 30th shutout of Price’s career, enabling the Anahim Lake, BC native to surpass Patrick Roy for fifth place on the all-time list in team history.

For their part, the Senators also hit the ice on Monday night, but they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in Ottawa. Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad registered two points each in the loss. Goaltender Robin Lehner and Clarke MacArthur were involved in a violent collision at the end of the second period, and neither returned for the remainder of the game.

Already deprived of Craig Anderson’s services since the end of January due to a hand injury, head coach Dave Cameron will be forced to put goaltender Andrew Hammond to work against Montreal becasuse Lehner hasn’t yet recovered from his injury. Hammond, who was called into action in the third period against Carolina, will be making the first start of his NHL career. MacArthur will also be forced to miss the contest.

On Tuesday, Michel Therrien announced that Dustin Tokarski will make his 12th start of the season against the Senators. Tokarski was in goal when the Canadiens suffered a 4-1 defeat in Ottawa back in mid-January. The Canadiens’ netminder will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Following Wednesday's morning skate, Therrien also announced that Jiri Sekac will take Manny Malhotra's spot in the lineup, while Greg Pateryn will suit up in place of Mike Weaver on D.

After scoring the game-winning goal on Monday, Plekanec will be trying to pick up at least one point in a fifth straight game. He’s scored two goals and added three assists during that span. For his part, Pacioretty has picked up five points in his last five games, including thee goals.

Wednesday night’s game will be the third of four meetings between Ottawa and Montreal. Each team has registered a 4-1 win on home ice, with the Canadiens emerging victorious on December 20 at the Bell Centre, and the Senators posting a similar victory on January 15 at the Canadian Tire Centre.

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