|Playing in his eighth NHL game tonight, defenceman Filip Novak is one of the players expected to receive an increase in ice time as the Senators play the second of back-to-back games. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The short-manned Ottawa Senators will return to action tonight when Northeast Division-rival Montreal Canadiens visit Scotiabank Place at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's game will start less than 24 hours after the Senators fell 5-4 in overtime to the Sabres in Buffalo yesterday.
Coming off a night that saw him lead all skaters in minutes played with 37:47, rookie defenceman Andrej Meszaros was asked if he expects to be tired tonight.
"We only had five D, so we had to play a lot," he said. "We still have to work hard tonight, and stay focused. Right now I feel pretty good."
In talking about Meszaros, coach Bryan Murray can't remember using any of his players over his career that much in a game.
"I had Rod Languay (with the Washington Capitals) but I don't think he ever played 37 or 38 minutes. We were at the level where we had to do that. We over-worked the guys. Tonight we will have to use (Filip) Novak and guys like that more."
Jason Spezza was asked to look back at the last meeting between the Sens and Habs, a 3-0 win for Ottawa when they limited Montreal to a 12-shot performance.
"We played great that night. We expect a good one again tonight. They're playing great hockey right now. It's going to take a full team effort, and we'll probably need some run support."
As the Canadiens currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, and Ottawa is first, there's a chance this could be a playoff preview as well.
"You never know who you're going to play," Spezza said. "We just want to play well in general going into the playoffs. We have high expectations of ourselves."
Added Ray Emery, tonight's starter in goal for Ottawa, "We watch (the standings) a bit, but we don't talk about it in meetings. We're just trying to get some more points here."
Note: Jason Spezza's power-play goal during Ottawa's 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday has now been credited to Bryan Smolinski.