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Senators, Canadiens try to build on wins

by John Kreiser

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

TV -- CBC (HD); RDS (HD)

Season series -- The Northeast Division rivals are meeting for the first time this season. The Senators dominated last season, winning five of six, including all three games at Montreal. In all, the Senators have won seven of the last eight meetings.

Big story -- After getting into the win column by beating Carolina 3-2 on Thursday night, the Senators will be trying for two in a row. The Canadiens are looking for their first home victory, but played an excellent positional game Friday night as they won 2-1 in Buffalo.

Team Scope:

Senators -- Ottawa got its first victory of the season by beating Carolina on Thursday, but the win came with a price: Oft-injured goaltender Pascal Leclaire got hurt again. Leclaire, who started the Senators' first four games, left after a collision with Carolina's Tom Kostopoulos and didn't return. The Senators said Friday that Leclaire has a groin injury and won't make the two-game trip to Montreal and Pittsburgh, where they play Monday. He'll be re-evaluated next week.

"We'll wait until early next week before we know if it's a long-term thing," said coach Cory Clouston, who on Thursday had called Leclaire "our best player overall" during the Senators' first three games of the season.

Canadiens -- After allowing 48 shots in Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, the Canadiens made their coach happy by tightening the defense two nights later in Buffalo. Montreal allowed only 22 shots in the 2-1 victory against the Sabres and held Buffalo without a shot in the final 3:48.

"The last two games, I wasn't pleased with how we played away from the puck," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. "I didn't think we had the commitment, and our intensity needed to be better. Tonight we stayed out of the penalty box, rolled four lines, and I thought that was a big difference."

Who's hot -- Mike Fisher had his first two goals of the season, including the game-winner, in Ottawa's victory against Carolina.

Injury report -- In addition to Leclaire, Ottawa is also without defenseman Filip Kuba, who's still sidelined due to a broken leg sustained on the first day of training camp. Captain Daniel Alfredsson and defenseman Sergei Gonchar both got the day off from practice Friday, but Clouston says they'll be good to go against the Canadiens. … Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, out since undergoing knee surgery last spring, could make his season debut against the Senators.

Stat pack -- Ottawa's power play is still scuffling. Fisher's game-winner Thursday was the Senators' first extra-man goal of the season after an 0-for-17 start. … Josh Gorges' power-play goal in the second period Friday night was Montreal's first of the season. The Canadiens had been 0-for-11 before Gorges beat Ryan Miller.

Puck drop -- Leclaire, who missed much of last season with injuries, is clearly frustrated by his latest malady.

"It is frustrating," he told the team's website. "It's almost like every year, I've got a little something (hurt). Especially last year, with the bad luck I had. Hopefully, it's not going to be too bad. We'll see."

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