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Game Day 5: Sens vs Canadiens

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

We've got 5 important game things as the Sens close out the month of October against the Montreal Canadiens tonight at 7:30 p.m.

1. Pyatt chipping in

With 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the team's last 8 games, Tom Pyatt is helping to fill the left by the abundance of injuries to the Sens' forwards. Typically used in a bottom 6 role, Pyatt is happy to help contribute more offensively this year.

"That's something I had in mind coming into this season," Pyatt shared after yesterday's practice. "I wanted to come in with more of a 'shooting mentality' because I didn't get a lot of shots last year and I didn't shoot the puck enough. This year my focus is on getting more pucks to the net and to take more chances when the time is right."

The aforementioned injuries upfront have seen a familiar trio from last season be reunited and Pyatt credits the contrasting skillsets of Mike Hoffman and Jean-Gabriel Pageau for the line's chemistry.

"It's a mix of a couple of different kinds of players," said Pyatt. "You've got a guy like Hoffman who can really score and has a great shot so Pageau and I like to play down low around and behind the net and try to get puck possession. Usually we try to look for Hoff right away and he does a good job of getting open. If you can set him up that's great for us because he's got an elite shot."

Pyatt's offence hasn't just come in regulation either. Since the beginning of last season he holds the team's highest sucess rate in the shootout at 40% (2 for 5). Small sample size aside, it's hard to deny Pyatt's ability in the game-deciding skills competition but the 30-year-old winger laughs off the subject.

"I'm definitely not a shootout specialist or anything," joked Pyatt. "I've got maybe 1 or 2 moves and sometimes that's all you need."


2. Team stats

As a fan, facing the Canadiens can be an exhausting excercise so I thought I'd help arm you with a few choice team stats that you can toss out if you need to.

For starters, the Sens have netted 40 goals in their first 11 games (which is nearly double Montreal's 22 over the same span) good for 3rd most in the NHL this season. It probably helps that they start with the puck a lot as they currently sit 2nd in face-off win percentage at 53.8%.

Now let's take a moment to look at the Sens' vaunted penalty kill which is clicking at a 90% success rate to start the year, 3rd best in the league. For starters, Ottawa has taken the 5th fewest penalties (38) and blocked the 2nd most shots (199) this season so less opportunity and less shots getting through have proven to be a good thing (crazy, right?). The Sens are also tied for first in penalty kill goal differential at a ridiculous -1 (tied with the Kings). That means Ottawa has only given up 3 power play goals all season while scoring twice while shorthanded. Not too shabby.

So there you go, hopefully some of Ottawa's league best team stats can help you squash an argument in the stands, at the bar or at home tonight...probably not but good luck.


3. DiDomenico scores his first

After being drafted a little over 10 years ago, Chris DiDomenico finally netted his first NHL goal on Friday. It was a big one too as the 28-year-old winger scored with 36.6 seconds remaining to send the game into extra time and earned the Sens another point in the standings.

"It was pretty special for me for it to be on the tying goal last game," recounted DiDomenico. "The coach had enough confidence in me to put me out there in a key situation which gave me a big momentum boost."

Video: OTT@NJD: DiDomenico ties game with first NHL goal

DiDomenico's confidence appears to be on the rise since being recalled from Belleville on October 20th. The Toronto-native spent nearly 5 years overseas playing in Switzerland before earning a contract with the Senators late last year and is starting to look more at home on the smaller ice surface again.

"The more you play, the more comfortable you feel out there," DiDomenico said about the adjustment period. "Before last season, I hadn't played on North American soil in about 5 years. I'm starting to feel more comfortable every day and last game was an opportunity for me to show them what I could do."

DiDomenico has another chance tonight to showcase his skills this time against the Montreal Canadiens.

"I want to show that it wasn't a fluke of a game for me and I have to continue to prove that I can play in this league."


4. Previous meeting

The last time these two teams faced off was back on March 25th, 2017 and for the third time in about a week, the Sens dropped a game to the Canadiens. Montreal jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period and Jean-Gabriel Pageau's 10th goal of the season would be the only blemish on Montreal's 3-1 win. Craig Anderson, playing in his 500th NHL game, stopped 21 of 24 and was beaten twice on the power play in defeat.

Full highlights from that game can be found below...

Video: OTT Recap: Anderson reaches milestone in 3-1 loss


5. Where to watch

Still some seats available so why not grab a few tickets and make a trip out to Canadian Tire Centre to catch tonight's game.

Things kick off at 7:30 p.m. and if you aren't able to make it to the rink you can catch the game on TSN5.

Tweet from @Senators: It's a #Sens game day! The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. tonight as the Sens host the Montreal Canadiens! BE THERE:

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