MONTREAL - The Canadiens will first head to Jacques Martin's former stomping grounds in Ottawa against Alex Kovalev and the Senators before working on their tans in the state of Florida and facing the Panthers and Lightning. The Habs will then ring in the new year by hosting the Sabres.
Canadiens @ Senators - Monday, December 28 @ 7:30 pm
This will mark the third meeting between the Habs and Sens this season. The divsion rivals have split the first two battles, with Montreal coming away with a 4-1 win earlier this month and Ottawa taking the their first match-up of the year with a 3-1 victory back in October. .
While the Senators are pleased to have their No. 1 man Pascale Leclaire back between the pipes, they received the NHL equivalent of a lump of coal in their stockings as captain Daniel Alfredsson will be out four to six weeks with an injured shoulder. Canadiens @ Lightning- Wednesday, December 30 @ 7:00 p.m.
This year marks the third time in four seasons that the Canadiens toast the holidays by traipsing through the Sunshine State. The Habs will looking to match the success they enjoyed last December when they came away with a pair wins on this same holiday roadie.
The Canadiens will also have payback on their minds following a 3-1 loss to the Bolts at the Bell Centre in November. That night with a little help from Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, Alex Tanguay came back to haunt the Habs with a pair of points to beat his former club. Canadiens @ Panthers - Thursday, December 31 @ 5:00 p.m.
The Habs will close out 2009 with a battle against the Panthers as Jacques Martin makes his first trip back to the BankAtlantic Center since he left his post as the Panthers' GM to take his dream job with the Canadiens.
The Habs will have to contend with Florida's one-two punch up-front of Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss, who have each piled up 37 points in 39 games. The Habs boast a red-hot duo of their own in Tomas Plekanec
and Michael Cammalleri, who boast 44 and 34 points, respectively. Canadiens vs Sabres - Sunday, January 3 @ 3:00 p.m.
The Canadiens will kick off the New Year by welcoming the Sabres to the Bell Centre for a matinee match-up in what will be a fourth showdown between the division rivals. The Habs will be looking to knot the season series at two games apiece as they aim to gain ground on the Sabres who continue to lead the Northeast Division with 48 points. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comSee alsoBoxing in LeafsOlympics rosters unveiling Mining for gold