Ottawa at Montreal
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 20, 2014
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
It's safe to say the Ottawa Senators have broken out of their scoring slump - and that could spell bad news for the host Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. The Senators ran roughshod over the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, scoring twice in each period to improve to 4-1-1 in their last six games. Ottawa has a whopping 21 goals over that stretch - a dramatic improvement over the eight they mustered during the previous five contests.
The Canadiens have also looked strong on the offensive end of late, scoring 14 goals during a three-game winning streak that was halted with Thursday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Ducks. But of greater concern to Montreal is an injury to skilled forward Max Pacioretty, who was hospitalized after he was hit by Anaheim defenseman Clayton Stoner. Fortunately the Canadiens avoided a scare, as Pacioretty is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TVA, CITY
ABOUT THE SENATORS (14-12-6): Not many people would have predicted that Mike Hoffman would be the first Ottawa player to reach the 10-goal mark on the season. Hoffman accomplished the feat in style Friday night, potting a pair of goals as the Senators walloped the Ducks 6-2 to prevail for just the second time in eight head-to-head encounters since Anaheim defeated Ottawa in the 2007 Stanley Cup final. The 25-year-old, who came into the season with just three goals in 31 career NHL games, has three multi-goal efforts this season.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (20-11-2): Montreal coach Michel Therrien is shuffling his lines again, and his latest change may be a significant one for David Desharnais. The diminutive forward was shifted from center to wing at practice - skating alongside Lars Eller and PA Parenteau - and Therrien hinted that the change may be a permanent one. "(I explained) to him my philosophy, my vision surrounding this," Therrien told the Montreal Gazette. "If he can adapt to many positions, it's an advantage for him."
1. The Canadiens have won three straight meetings, scoring 17 goals in the process.
2. Four of the last seven meetings have gone to overtime, including three straight last season.
3. Desharnais has five goals and eight assists in 17 career games against Ottawa.
PREDICTION: Senators 3, Canadiens 2
Stats and Records