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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, October 17th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (4-2-0) at Montreal Canadiens (2-4-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two Northeast Division rivals square off this evening, as the Montreal Canadiens welcome the Ottawa Senators to the Bell Centre.

The Senators have won four of five games since a season-opening loss against the New York Rangers on October 3, and are coming off Thursday's 7-1 throttling of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finale of a four-game homestand at Scotiabank Place.

Milan Michalek registered the first hat trick of his career, while Alex Kovalev, Alexandre Picard and Nick Foligno each scored a goal for the Senators, who finished a four-game homestand with a 3-1-0 mark. Jarkko Ruutu had a goal and two assists and Daniel Alfredsson added three helpers in a winning effort. Pascal Leclaire stopped 16-of-17 shots for the Sens.

"It's great, it's my first one [hat trick]. To get it here in Ottawa, I'm very happy about that," Michalek said. "To see all the people standing and clapping for me was an awesome feeling."

Kovalev will make his return to the Bell Centre Saturday after he spent the previous four-plus years with the Montreal Canadiens. In injury news for Ottawa, defenseman Filip Kuba (lower body) is expected to miss Saturday's game and center Peter Regin (upper body) is listed as probable. Senators right wing Jesse Winchester (knee) is expected to be activated from injured reserve.

Montreal, meanwhile, has dropped four in a row since winning its first two games of the 2009-10 campaign. It suffered a 3-2 loss versus Colorado the last time out on Thursday, as Tomas Plekanec registered a goal and an assist and Roman Hamrlik had the other goal for the Habs, who got 20 saves out of goaltender Carey Price.

"They claimed the second period and in the second period they had two power plays, and even though they didn't score, they had the momentum going," Plekanec said. "That's probably where we lost the game."

Dating back to April, Montreal is 2-11-1 in the past 14 games, including the postseason. The Canadiens are 0-1 so far on a six-game homestand versus the Avalanche, Senators, Thrashers, Islanders, Rangers and the Isles again.

Montreal went 4-2 against Ottawa last season and has won seven of the last 11 meetings between the clubs.

10/17 10:45:21 ET

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