Check out the NHL's game notes for tonight's Ottawa-Montreal matchup.
|Jarkko Ruutu and the Ottawa Senators hope to extend a five-game home-ice winning streak when they face off against the division rival Montreal Canadiens tonight at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
There's no place like home.
No doubt the Ottawa Senators will collectively nod their approval in the direction of that familiar old saying. And not just because they're carrying a five-game home-ice winning streak into tonight's matchup with the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).
After a wearying five-game, 11-day road trip that produced its share of adversity, the Senators (14-10-4) finally have the chance to settle back into a much more comfortable environment today. They also do so with a little bit of momentum gained by Sunday's 4-3 shootout triumph over the Ducks in Anaheim, which concluded a 1-3-1 road trip.
"It’s good to be home, that’s for sure, and playing in our barn where we’ve been playing pretty well lately," centre Mike Fisher said after the Senators' pre-game skate earlier today. "It’s nice to get a win on the road, too, to come home after that.
"(The road trip) was disappointing, but now we’re coming home, where we’re comfortable. We’re still in a good position and we know we’ve got more in us."
Added centre Jason Spezza
: "It was a tough trip against some good teams and now we come home to a divisional game against one of the teams we’re going to be fighting with down the stretch."
The Canadiens (14-14-2) and especially goaltender Carey Price have stepped up their game lately and posted an impressive 3-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night at the Bell Centre. Meanwhile, the Senators – who spent much of Monday travelling home from California – began to shake off the effects of jet lag.
"It's a pretty tough transition," admitted captain Daniel Alfredsson
. "It would have been nice to have another day to get accustomed to the time change and everything. But Montreal played yesterday, so that should kind of even out the ground. And it’s always fun to play them."
"It’s good to be home, that’s for sure, and playing in our barn where we’ve been playing pretty well lately.(The road trip) was disappointing, but now we’re coming home, where we’re comfortable. We’re still in a good position and we know we’ve got more in us." - Mike Fisher
Given the road weariness of his team, Senators head coach Cory Clouston said there won't be anything complex about tonight's game plan.
"The biggest thing is to keep a simple game plan, try to create some energy with some physical play by getting some pucks in deep, eliminate our turnovers and try to get everyone going real quick," said Clouston.
Said forward Nick Foligno
: "They’re a big rival and we want to make sure we come out with a good game, especially at home. It’s nice to be home, for sure. It was a long road trip and we’ve got to get these points."
Home has surely been kind to the Senators so far this season. Their 10-3-3 record at Scotiabank Place is tops in the Eastern Conference.
"It's tough to explain," Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu said when asked about the team's home success so far this season. "Winning is a habit just like losing is a habit. We’ve been fortunate that we were home so much early in the year and I think it’s helped us. We just have to start building on the road trips, too."
Around the boards
Senators defenceman Alex Picard took part in the pre-game skate tonight but won't suit up against the Canadiens ... Brian Elliott (6-5-3) will make his ninth straight start in goal ... The Ottawa lines this morning: Milan Michalek-Mike Fisher-Daniel Alfredsson, Nick Foligno-Jason Spezza-Alex Kovalev, Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Jonathan Cheechoo and Peter Regin-Jesse Winchester-Ryan Shannon
... Fewer than 750 tickets remain for tonight's game, while 4,000 are left for Saturday's visit by the Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).