At the time of writing, the Montreal Canadiens are five points clear of the Ottawa Senators in the race for the Atlantic Division title and plenty of punters will be expecting another win for the visitors here. Realistically, neither side is going to go on and win the division, but the playoffs are still well within reach.
Montreal are in decent form, having won six of their previous 10 National Hockey League encounters. The visitors will be looking to claim another important victory as they look to send out a statement of intent ahead of the festive period. Another Stanley Cup triumph may be on the cards if Montreal hit top form in the second half of the season.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have Ottawa. The Senators have failed to put a decent run of form together and it is difficult to back them on current form. With just two wins in their last 10 outings, Ottawa must improve to stand any chance of featuring prominently at the business end of the year.
Ottawa Need A Bit Of Luck… And They Need It Soon
Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford will be disappointed at how Ottawa’s season has panned out. The Senators have plenty of potential but continue to fall short when it matters most of all – consistency is a huge issue and they are a distant 70/1 with Bet365 for the Stanley Cup this year. At Canadian Tire Centre, they tend to produce their best form so Montreal won’t have everything their own way but a change in fortune is needed.
A return to home ice could be exactly what Ottawa need. The Senators have played just two of their last 12 NHL fixtures in Ottawa and their passionate home support will be hoping for an improved effort here.
DANGER MAN: Mark Stone. Stone has scored 27 points in 30 National Hockey league games this year – not an outstanding figure but still good enough to lead the Senators. Supporters will be expecting another influential performance this weekend.
After a difficult run, Stone has now scored at least one point in each of his last two games. If truth be told, Ottawa have no standout candidates to fire the team to victory on a regular basis but Stone might just be their best chance of nicking a win.
Canadiens Looking Menacing Midway Through Campaign
Montreal started the season slowly but the 24-time Stanley Cup winners are now well and truly in their groove. On the road, the Canadiens are prone to making the odd error but fans will be quietly confident ahead of their upcoming trip to Ottawa.
Surprisingly, the Canadiens have a -13 points differential after 32 games. Scoring goals has been tough for Montreal at times this year, the visitors have mustered just 87 goals at the right end of the ice. Though, you could argue that Ottawa (82 goals) haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory either…
DANGER MAN: Max Pacioretty. Montreal are building something special and Claude Julien knows it. The Canadiens don’t really have a standout talent these days – although Pacioretty is still able to turn a game on its head with one world class moment.
With eight goals and 10 assists, he sits third on the team in points scored and that shows just how talented this Montreal side really is. Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault deserve a mention but this could be Pacioretty’s time to carry the Canadiens to victory.
Given their struggles in front of goal, this could be a low scoring affair. Montreal have the more complete side on paper though and Canadiens fans will fancy their chances in this fixture. Ottawa need a slice of luck and they will start winning at some stage but you’d have to back Montreal on current form. It won’t be a walkover, but it should be fairly comfortable in an uneventful contest.
SENATORS 1-3 CANADIENS