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Canadiens and Senators set for rematch

by John Kreiser

CANADIENS (3-2-1) at SENATORS (2-4-1)


Season series -- The Northeast Division rivals are meeting for the second time in eight days. The Senators jumped out to a 3-1 lead at Montreal last Saturday, only to have the Canadiens rally for a 4-3 victory.

Big story -- Maybe the bag skate coach Cory Clouston put his players through this week paid off: The Senators won their first road game of the season by winning 4-2 in Buffalo on Friday night. The Canadiens failed to build on their come-from-behind victory against Ottawa last Saturday, losing 3-0 at home to Martin Brodeur and New Jersey on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Canadiens -- The loss to the Devils might have snapped the Canadiens' four-game points streak, but it didn't diminish their confidence.

"We had a lot of chances," Canadiens forward Tom Pyatt said of the Canadiens' 29-shot effort against Brodeur. "We just have to continue doing the same thing, but with a different result."

Senators -- It was a happy plane ride home from Buffalo. Not only did the Senators get their first road victory of the season by beating the Sabres, but captain Daniel Alfredsson's empty-netter completed his eighth career hat trick and gave him 1,000 career points.

"It's a big milestone, but it hasn't been on my mind at all with the struggles we've been going through," said Alfredsson, who has 379 goals and 621 assists -- all with Ottawa. He's the 75th player in NHL history to reach the milestone.

Who's hot -- Tomas Plekanec is one of four Canadiens with 2 goals and leads the team with 5 points. … Alfredsson now has 8 points in seven games. He has 3 goals and 15 points in his last 11 games against the Canadiens.

Injury report -- Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, sidelined since tearing a knee ligament in the playoffs back in May and undergoing surgery, is practicing but not quite ready yet to make his season debut. ... Ottawa is still without goaltender Pascal Leclaire (groin) and defenseman Filip Kuba (broken leg). No. 1 center Jason Spezza sat out Friday's game with a sore groin and may or may not play.

Stat pack -- It was fitting that Alfredsson's 1,000th point came against the Sabres. He got his first one against Buffalo on Oct. 7, 1995. He also has 41 goals against the Sabres, tying him with Peter Stastny and Jaromir Jagr for the most by any opponent.

Puck drop -- The hottest audition in Montreal these days isn't taking place at a theater. It's going on at Canadiens' practices, where coach Jacques Martin is looking for a left wing to play with center Scott Gomez and right wing Brian Gionta. Pyatt played on the port side for the first two periods on Thursday; Michael Cammalleri played there in the third period. Dustin Boyd and Lars Eller may also get a look. With a power outage canceling Friday's practice, Martin may do some more juggling at the morning skate.

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