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At the Rink: Canadiens at Senators

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA – Goalies Matthew O'Connor of the Ottawa Senators and Mike Condon of the Montreal Canadiens will make their respective NHL debuts when the undefeated teams play at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday.

"I think all the things are lined up and it's the right decision," Senators coach Dave Cameron said.

Each team is playing the second of back-to-back games.

After Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond sustained a groin injury near the end of training camp, O'Connor, a college free agent who signed with the Senators in May, was called up from the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League to back up veteran goaltender Craig Anderson.

Condon beat out Dustin Tokarski for the backup job behind Carey Price. The 25-year-old was signed as a free agent by the Canadiens in 2013 after four years at Princeton University and was 23-19-0 with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League last season.

"I like his progression as a young goalie," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "He played really well for us last year in the American Hockey League. He came to camp and had a great, great camp. I'm sure he's going to be nervous. You always remember your first game in the NHL. I have a lot of confidence in him.

"He battled really hard. That’s a kid, I know tonight he's going to battle. He’s calm, but he's a fighter and that’s what we like about him."

Condon will face a hot first line for the Senators. Center Kyle Turris, along with Mark Stone and wing Mike Hoffman, have combined for 11 points in Ottawa's two games. Turris has three goals and an assist, Stone a goal and three assists and Hoffman three assists. Hoffman also scored the deciding goal in the shootout against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Ottawa's power play has also been clicking. After it finished 22nd in the NHL last season at 16.8 percent, improving the power play has been one of the goals for this season. The Senators scored three times with the man advantage against the Maple Leafs and are 3-for-6 on the season.

For the second straight season, the Canadiens shifted Alex Galchenyuk from wing to center. Though he wound up being shifted back to wing last season, the experiment is paying off so far. Galchenyuk, playing on a line with Lars Eller and Alexander Semin, has a goal and three assists to lead the Canadiens.

The Canadiens and Senators play their first game since the Canadiens eliminated the Senators from the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max PaciorettyTomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher

Lars EllerAlex GalchenyukAlexander Semin

Tomas FleischmannDavid DesharnaisDale Weise

Brian FlynnTorrey MitchellDevante Smith-Pelly

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban

Alexei EmelinJeff Petry

Nathan BeaulieuTom Gilbert

Mike Condon

Carey Price

Injured: None

Scratched: Paul Byron, Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn


Mike HoffmanKyle TurrisMark Stone

Bobby RyanMika ZibanejadCurtis Lazar

Clarke MacArthurJean-Gabriel PageauMilan Michalek

Alex ChiassonZack SmithChris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch- Cody Ceci

Jared Cowen - Mark Borowiecki

Matthew O'Connor

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Shane Prince, Chris Wideman

Injured: Andrew Hammond (groin), Chris Phillips (back)

Status report: Therrien said he expected to place Byron, picked up on waivers from the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, into the lineup during the Canadiens' current road trip. After playing the Senators, the Canadiens end the trip at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Who's hot: Subban and Karlsson each have three assists for the Canadiens and Senators, respectively.

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