|Senators forward Dany Heatley will continue his pursuit of 50 goals and 100 points tonight in his 191st consecutive NHL game.|
by Todd Anderson
Despite missing the last two days of practice with a sore ankle, Senators forward Dany Heatley will play in his 191st consecutive NHL game tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He enters the match with 46 goals and 97 points.
In front of a packed media conference room this morning, Senators head coach Bryan Murray announced he would have his leading scorer in the lineup tonight against the Canadiens, who are battling with several teams for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
"He said he felt good. We won't treat him any differently," Murray said of Heatley after today's morning skate. "If he's ready to play and it's not aggravating him in any way, we'll definitely play him regularly."
Heatley says the soreness in his ankle lessened over the last two days.
"It felt good yesterday and it feels better today. (The ankle) is taped up and it's really improved a lot."
Like Murray, Heatley doesn't expect his role to change tonight.
"If I'm going to play, I'm going to play the way I always do. (Montreal) is going to be a hungry team, and the crowd is going to be in it. Any time you can go out there and play, it's fun."
Heatley's centre, Jason Spezza, is glad his regular left-winger will be on the ice tonight. He's looking forward to seeing what they can do against a desperate Montreal team that is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games.
"I had a feeling Heater was going to play," Spezza says. "We have to get on (Montreal) early and stay on them. This will be a good test for us with the playoffs approaching."
While Montreal is fighting to make the playoffs, the Senators look to secure home ice in the first round. The Senators are currently tied with New Jersey with 98 points, but the Devils hold the edge for fourth place because they lead the season series 1-2-0.
Click here for the NHL's tie-breaking procedure.
Senators forward Patrick Eaves is doubtful tonight with soreness in his groin area.