Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Senators game at the Bell Centre on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).
The matchup: This is the second of four meetings between these Atlantic Division rivals. The Senators were 2-1 winners at the Bell Centre on Nov. 20 when Brady Tkachuk scored in overtime. The Senators have an 8-5 record at home, but have struggled on the road, where they are 5-12-1. Ottawa is coming off an impressive 5-2 win over Boston Monday at home and is 4-6 in its last 10 games. After winning in Pittsburgh Tuesday night, the Canadians stood 9th in the Eastern Conference and have a seven-point edge over the Senators in the division standings.
The goaltenders: This is the tail end of a back-to-back set and that means rookie Cayden Primeau will probably get his second NHL start. He was on the short end of a 3-2 count last week against the high-powered Colorado Avalanche, but he made 32 saves and appeared to gain confidence after a shaky start. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, who made 35 saves in that overtime win over Montreal, is on the injured-reserve list with a knee injury. Anders Nilsson will get the start for the Senators. He’s 8-8-1 with a 3.03 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage, but has a career 0-2 record against the Canadiens.
Domi behind last season’s pace: Max Domi had a career year in 2018-19 and one of the questions going into this season was whether he could repeat that performance. The answer so far is no. Going into Tuesday’s game, Domi had 18 points, including six goals on 78 shots for a shooting percentage of 7.7 per cent. After 30 games last season, Domi had 14 goals on 69 shots — a 20.3 per cent shooting percentage — and 31 points. An injury to linemate Jonathan Drouin and an unproductive stint on the left wing haven’t helped, but Domi has to be better.
Gallagher on pace for 30: Brendan Gallagher extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with an empty-netter Tuesday night. He has 14 goals and is on pace for a third consecutive 30-goal season. Most of his goals aren’t pretty, but the feisty winger capitalizes on going to the net and scoring on deflections and rebounds. Gallagher is the team leader in goals, with 14, while Joel Armia has 11 and Shea Weber and team scoring leader Tomas Tatar (26 points) each have 10. Armia has learned to use his size and strength to full advantage and he’s having a breakthrough campaign after scoring a career-high 13 goals in 57 games last season.
Ottawa features French flair: A trio of francophones are leading the way for the rebuilding Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, an Ottawa native who played junior hockey for the Gatineau Olympiques, leads the team in goals (16) and points (23). Pageau, who has a 21.9 per cent shooting percentage, has three short-handed goals and three winning goals. Anthony Duclair, a Laval native who played for the Lac St. Louis Lions and Quebec Remparts, has 15 goals and 22 points. Thomas Chabot, a defenceman from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., who played for the Saint John Sea Dogs, has 19 points, including three goals, while averaging more than 25 minutes a game.
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