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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 17th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (26-11-6) at Ottawa Senators (15-21-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will aim for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they welcome the rival Montreal Canadiens for tonight's Northeast Division battle at Scotiabank Place.

Montreal has fared well against the Senators recently and will aim for its fifth straight win against Ottawa tonight. The Canadiens have won both games against the Sens this year, but Ottawa did get a point in the shootout loss the last time the team's met on November 20. The Habs have won their last two in Ottawa after dropping the previous six meetings in Canada's capital city.

The Senators have posted recent victories over Carolina and Atlanta to record their fifth two-game winning streak of the season. Ottawa hasn't won three straight contests since March 8-13 of last year.

After posting Tuesday's 5-1 win over the visiting Hurricanes, the Senators notched a close victory in Atlanta the following night. Dean McAmmond's second-period goal proved to be the difference, as Ottawa edged the Thrashers, 3-2, at Philips Arena.

Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza both registered a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which won consecutive games for the first time since earning wins over these same Thrashers and Pittsburgh on December 3 and 6, respectively.

A Cup finalist in 2007, Ottawa is still at the bottom of the Northeast Division standings with 36 points.

Brian Elliott, a 23-year-old rookie unearthed in the ninth round (291st overall) of the 2003 draft by the Sens, made 29 saves in his third straight start.

The Senators are beginning a three-game homestand tonight and will also host Washington and New Jersey during the residency. Ottawa is 10-7-3 on home ice this year and has won seven of its last 10 tests at Scotiabank Place.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, have played well recently, winning five of six and eight of their last 10 games. Montreal is second in the Northeast Division with 58 points, but is still 12 behind Boston for first place.

Montreal had a four-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in Boston, but rebounded with a home victory Thursday against Nashville. Andrei Markov tallied a goal and an assist and the Canadiens held on to defeat the Predators, 3-2, at Bell Centre.

Guillaume Latendresse and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for Montreal, while Robert Lang recorded two assists.

Kostitsyn carries a six-game point streak into this evening's game and has six goals and four assists during the run.

Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves in his seventh consecutive start. Halak has manned the crease while No. 1 netminder Carey Price continues to recover from a nagging lower-body injury. Price hasn't played since December 30 when he notched a win in Tampa and is doubtful for tonight's game.

Tonight's outing marks the opener of a six-game road trip for the Habs, who are 11-7-2 as the visiting club and have won four of their last six away from Montreal.

01/17 10:21:28 ET


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