Game Preview: Senators @ Canadiens – Round 1 – Game 1
The series is tied 0-0
The Ottawa Senators visit the Bell Centre on Wednesday when the Canadiens host Game 1 of the NHL's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The Habs and Sens now meet in the postseason for the second time since 2013, when Ottawa won the all-Canadian series in five games.
Most recently, the Senators won the 2014-15 season series between the two Atlantic Division rivals 3-1, outscoring the Canadiens 14-9 over four games.
Two Senators racked up six points each against the Habs this season, namely Milan Michalek (1G-5A) and Erik Karlsson (3G-3A).
Max Pacioretty meanwhile has found the back of the net four times opposite the Sens, while also picking up a pair of assists to lead all NHLers in points against Ottawa.
The Habs’ leading scorer will nevertheless be out of the lineup for Game 1, currently sidelined with an upper body injury. The three-time 30-goal scorer skated with his teammates for a third day in a row on Wednesday, although did not practice on a regular forward line. An exact date has not been set for Pacioretty’s return, who will instead be evaluated day-to-day.
Michel Therrien’s lines for Game 1 should therefore be similar to those used during the final two games of the regular season without the 26-year-old sniper in uniform.
On the back end, Tom Gilbert returns to the lineup after missing the previous two games with an upper body injury. Sergei Gonchar, Mike Weaver and Greg Pateryn should be the night’s scratches.
Carey Price will get the start in goal, looking for a 43rd career playoff win on Wednesday. The All-Star netminder, who won a franchise record 43 games this season, split his two previous starts against the Sens.
He’ll face Andrew Hammond, the NHL’s first star of the month for March, on the other end of the ice. Hammond has compiled a 20-1-2 record since making his NHL debut following the All-Star break.
The Habs will also need to keep their eyes on rookies Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, two authors of the Senators’ midseason comeback story, ranking first and second among team goalscorers, respectively.
Stone for his part also finished first leaguewide for the most points among NHL rookies.