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Game Day 5: Senators @ Canadiens, Feb. 4

by Matt Tidcombe @matttidcombe

The Ottawa Senators wrap up its seven-game road trip tonight when they face the Montreal Canadiens for the first time this season.

The Set-up

Ottawa (1-8-1) is coming off of a 4-2 loss in Edmonton Tuesday night and are seeking to snap their current nine-game skid having not won since opening night.

Montreal (7-1-2) is riding a two-game winning streak and sit atop the North Division. The Canadiens' 44 goals are the second most in the division while the 27 its conceded, are tied for the second fewest. Their +17 goal differential is the best in the North.

The two teams love shooting the puck. Montreal leads the NHL in average shots per game at 34.4 while the Sens fire 31.3 shots a night at opposing goaltenders. One difference: Montreal's shot percentage is 12.8 per cent while the Sens sit at 7.7.

Roster notes

The Senators recalled defenceman Erik Brannstrom from Belleville to the team's taxi squad Wednesday and today, officially recalled him to the NHL club to make his season debut tonight. Furthermore, Alex Galchenyuk will draw back in tonight after sitting out the last four games while Braydon Coburn was assigned to the taxi squad.

"He's going to help us move pucks back there," Sens head coach D.J. Smith said of Brannstrom. "He's just got to go out there and play. One morning skate and right into it without a game in a month is a hard thing for a kid but he can jump in the play, create some offence for us and break us out which we desperately need at this point. He's going to get on the power play and we're going to give him some opportunities."  

From today's morning skate, these were the Senators' lines:

Tkachuk - Norris - Dadonov

Paul - White - Batherson

Stützle - Stepan - C. Brown

Galchenyuk - Tierney - Watson

Paquette - Anisimov - Haley

Chabot - Zaitsev

Reilly - Zub

Brannstrom - Gudbranson

Coburn - J. Brown

Previous history

The Sens are 66-65-10 (five ties) all-time against Montreal and hold a 28-37-5 (four ties) road record in 74 games.

Last season, the Senators claimed three of the possible four points available on the road.

This is the first game of a home-and-home between the two teams as they will meet again Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre at 1pm.

Who to watch

Tim Stützle has goals in back-to-back games as he scored in both contests against Edmonton earlier this week. His three goals this season are part of a four-way tie for the most by a Senator.

The German rookie is converting at a high rate early on: in just seven games, he has only registered nine shots but with his three goals, has a 33.3 per cent shooting percentage.  

Where to Watch  

Thursday's game can be seen live on TSN5 and RDS at 7 p.m. Fans can also tune into the radio call on TSN 1200 and Unique FM 94.5. 

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