Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Game preview: Sens vs. Habs, Oct. 18

Since there is so much damned time between games, it means I'll have time to assemble a (hopefully) decent game-preview regarding the Sens and Habs in Ottawa on Thursday night.

The first of eight games this season; Ottawa won the season-series last year 5-3, outscoring Montreal 31-24 in the process. In 2007-08, Ottawa's 6-1-0 (12 pts), and Montreal's 2-1-2 (6 pts).

Sens storylines
  • This will mark the debut for the newest Senator, Randy Robitaille. Robitaille has just re-joined the NHL after scoring 9 points in 14 games for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the RSL. It's unclear where he will play in the game; he practiced on the second line on Wednesday, but common thought is that he will line up on the fourth line.
  • To make room for Robitaille, it appears that Christoph Schubert will drop back to defence and Luke Richardson will be the odd-man out. I don't know why, as I've been quite impressed with Richardson's play so far, but I guess John Paddock has his reasons.
  • Despite the fact that Ray Emery is ready to play, the Sens are going with Martin Gerber in nets. More on that in the last post.
  • It's been five days since the Sens last played. Will the layoff be too much?
  • The Sens have the best penalty-killing percentage in the league at 96.97% (32-for-33). They are 22nd on the powerplay, going 5-for-34.
  • Among Sens players, Daniel Alfredsson has the most career points against the Habs, with 22 goals and 49 assists for 71 points in 57 games played. Dany Heatley has 30 points (10G, 20A) in 25 games and Jason Spezza has 26 (13G, 13A) in 26 games. Plus Spezza annihilated former Hab Sheldon Souray. Let's never forget that moment (not that Jubille Jewellers would ever let us).
Habs storylines
  • Carey Price will make his second NHL start against Ottawa. Sure, he got a victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the best player in the NHL, but Ottawa's got a lot of big guns. I hope they are firing on all cylinders.
  • After being scratched on Tuesday, both Steve Begin and Guillaume Latendresse will be back in the lineup against the Sens. If head coach Guy Carbonneau's plan worked, they'll be a pain in the Sens collective butt.
  • After questioning Carbonneau's tactics, Alexei Kovalev apparently had a heart-to-heart with his coach. We all know Kovalev's bi-polarity; he can either respond negatively and do nothing, or positively and act as a one-man wrecking crew. Time will tell.
  • Montreal is tenth on the PP with 5-for-24 and 23rd when short-handed, killing 20 of 25 penalties.
  • Kovalev leads all active Habs in points against Ottawa, with 43 (16G, 17A) in 53 games played. Then, to my surprise, is former Senator Bryan Smolinski with 33 points (16G, 17A) in 33 games. Saku Koivu is third, with 28P (8G, 20A) in 44GP and defenceman Patrice Brisebois is fourth, 10G, 16A, 26P in 41GP.
And that ends the game preview! Was it good for you?
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