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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 24th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (34-15-8-5) at Montreal Canadiens (30-25-6-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators try to hold onto the top spot in the Eastern Conference this evening when they visit the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

The Senators have 81 points and lead Philadelphia by one. Ottawa also holds just a one-point edge over Toronto for first place in the Northeast Division.

On Saturday, Martin Havlat registered his first hat trick of the season to lead Ottawa to a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh at the Igloo.

Havlat, who has four career hat tricks, added an assist for the Senators, who posted their second straight win and have earned a point in nine straight games (6-0-1-2). Martin Prusek made 23 saves.

Antoine Vermette, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil also scored for Ottawa, which scored the final three goals to snap a 3-3 tie.

Neil put the team ahead for good with 1:59 left in the second period by jamming a loose rebound into the net. Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin appeared to keep the puck in front of the goal line, but a video review confirmed Neil's sixth goal of the season.

The Senators return home on Thursday when they host Philadelphia.

Montreal is coming off Monday's victory against the Rangers. Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists to lead the Canadiens to the 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden.

Jose Theodore made 31 saves for the Canadiens, who moved to 2-1 in their last three tilts. Mike Ribeiro, Patrice Brisebois and Jason Ward also scored for Montreal, which also won for only the second time in its last seven games.

The Habs, with 68 points, are tied with the New York Islanders for seventh place in the Eastern Conference -- five ahead of Buffalo for the final playoff spot.

Ottawa has won five of the last six meetings with the Habs, including three of the four matchups this year. The Senators have also won two straight in Montreal.

02/24 10:29:33 ET

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