Game 49 Hub: Senators @ Canadiens

Jan 28, 2023 - 6:38 PM
NHL: OCT 04 Senators at Canadiens
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a wonderfully impressive 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, the Ottawa Senators head home to the Canadian Tire Centre to face the Montreal Canadiens. It’s back-to-back nights of fierce rivalries, and a second straight win would do wonders for the psyche of the fanbase. Their win last night was phenomenal to watch, as it was the third time this season they’ve won by four or more goals, and just the second time if we exclude empty-netters.

Last night the Senators had to face one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference on the road, and tonight is a much different task. The Canadiens are three points back of the Senators with one more game played, so it’s not as if this is nearly as difficult a task. However, Ottawa hasn’t done fantastically well either, meaning this could easily be a close matchup. Let’s hope the Senators can make it a rivalry sweep this weekend. The projected lines have not been released, but there’s a good chance that they go with similar lines after a win, although Kevin Mandolese could be getting his first career NHL start, plus Tyler Motte has been activated from the IR. So we don’t know what the forwards will look like, but perhaps Brassard becomes the fourth-line centre, and Motte slots in on that third line for Gambrell:

Game Notes:

  • What a great introduction to the NHL for Ridly Greig. In games two and three he gets to see Ottawa’s two biggest rivalries up close, including a game in Toronto. I can’t wait to see him be a factor in more of these games.
  • The Senators have won the past three games against the Canadiens and they’re 8-4-1 against them in their past 13 games.
  • If Mandolese does get the start tonight (due to this being a back-to-back), it’ll be interesting to see how he does. He’s done well in the ECHL this season with a .927 SV% in 6 games but has struggled in 12 AHL games with an .886 SV%. The 22-year-old has time to turn things around, and this could be a big opportunity to show that he’s worth keeping around.
  • Former Senator Chris Wideman will not be in the lineup tonight, so there’s no reunion there.
  • The Canadiens' leading goal scorer Cole Caufield is out for the rest of the season, which saps a lot of offense away from a team that already struggles to score goals.
  • Kirby Dach is someone to keep an eye on, as he hasn’t been elite for them but he’s still been a pleasant surprise with 32 points in 49 games.
  • If there’s one player that has the potential to make this rivalry intense again, it’s Arber Xhekaj. The undrafted defenseman has a whopping 92 PIMs in 47 games and has the ability to get under the skin of his opponents. I’m betting something will happen with him tonight.
  • The Senators and Canadiens play each other in Montreal for the very next game, which is on Tuesday. Then after that, they have one more game in Montreal on February 25th as well.

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