Montreal Canadiens (1-0) vs. Ottawa Senators (1-0)
NHL: Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00pm EST
Line: Ottawa -115/Montreal +104
The Ottawa Senators will host the Montreal Canadiens in a divisional battle on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night from the Canadian Tire Centre. The Canadiens defeated the Sabres by a 4-1 score on Thursday night, and the Senators came away with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs Wednesday night. Montreal went 2-1-0-1 against Ottawa last season.
Habs Notch Win With Price Out of Lineup
The Montreal Canadiens took advantage of a Buffalo team that was missing a few key players and notched a 4-1 victory in their season opener Thursday night without Carey Price in net. Brendan Gallagher led the way scoring two goals, and was a plus two on the night. Gallager missed a good chunk of playing time last year with a hand injury, but still managed to score 19 goals with 21 assists and should easily surpass the 20 goal mark this season. Offseason additions Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw were both very effective in their Montreal debuts. Weber notched and assist and was a plus three, while Shaw scored a goal.
One player to watch will be 18-year old defenseman Mikhail Sergachev who was the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft. The Russian defenseman has a very high hockey IQ and features burning speed enabling him go end-to-end on the rush, and projects to be a top-pairing NHL defensemen for years to come. It will be interesting to see if plays well enough to stay with the club, or if he gets sent back to the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. Sergachev did not look out of place in Wednesday night’s win, logging almost 12 minutes of ice time. Carey Price is battling the flu and did not travel with the club to Ottawa, giving Al Montoya another start in net for the Habs. Montoya was solid in the 4-1 win Thursday night, and he posted a 2.18 GAA in 25 games with the Panthers last season.
Erik Karlsson with Three Point Night in Victory Over Leafs
The Ottawa Senators showed great resiliency in their 5-4 OT win against the Maple Leafs Wednesday evening, three times erasing deficits and eventually netted the OT winner on a terrific shot from Kyle Turris. Offseason acquisition Derek Brassard had a great Senators debut, notching one goal and one assist, and saw 17 minutes of ice time. The 29-year old centre scored 27 goals last season and could very well put up 30 goals this year. Erik Karlsson was the best player on the ice for the Senators, notching one goal and two assists and also fired eight shots on goal on 27 minutes on ice-time. The two-time Norris trophy winner is the heart and soul of the Senators, notching 82 points last season with a league leading 66 assists, and also lead the NHL with an average of 28 minutes of ice time per game. The Senators continue to play without top six forward Clarke MacArthur who suffered a concussion in training camp and is out indefinitely.
Craig Anderson will get the call in net for the Senators. Anderson let in a few goals he might like to have back Wednesday night but he did get the win, stopping 34 of 38 shots. The 35-year old posted a .916 save percentage to go with a weak 2.78 GAA last season, which was one of the worst of any starting goalie.
The Montreal Canadiens are:
- over is 4-1-1 in their last 6 Saturday games.
- over is 6-2 in their last 8 games when their opponent scores 5 or more goals in their previous game.
The Ottawa Senators are:
- over is 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
- over is 5-1 in their last 6 games after scoring more than five goals in their previous game.
I am taking the over in this contest. Price is not in net for the Habs, and Montoya is average at best so I expect to see some goals from Ottawa. Both teams struggled defensively last season, with both clubs finishing in the bottom ten in the NHL in goals allowed per game. Plus, Ottawa allowed the most shots in the entire NHL last year, and the Habs have some guys that can put the puck in the net, so they should light the lamp in this matchup. Also, Anderson was shaky for the Senators on Wednesday night, so I think we see a lot of goals in this one.