The Sens just welcomed back Dany Heatley to the ice last game after he had missed 11 games with a separated shoulder, and Heatley was able to tally 2 goals and an assist in his return...so what can we expect of Daniel Alfredsson as he makes his return from a hip injury tonight?
The Senators (33-18-4) were able to restors a 3 point lead on Montreal Thursday with their 5-4 win against the Panthers, coupled with Montreal's 4-2 loss vs. the Maple Leafs. The Sens struggled prior to Heatley's return, and have only won 1 of 7 games without Alfie in the lineup.
Since joining the Senators in 2005 following a trade from Atlanta, Heatley has recorded points in each game at Scotiabank Place against the Canadiens, totaling seven goals and nine assists while leading Ottawa to an 8-2-0 record.
Alfredsson, the Senators' leader with 32 goals and 68 points, has missed the last four games with an injured hip flexor. Alfredsson hasn't played since Jan. 29, when he logged an assist in just over 12 minutes during a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders in his first action following the All-Star game. He has three goals and eight assists during Ottawa's current five-game home win streak over Montreal.
The Senators have outscored the Canadiens 24-10 since last losing to them at home on Nov. 13, 2006.
Montreal, who got their first win of the 8-game season series against Ottawa on Tuesday, will be looking to close the 3-1 gap that Ottawa holds to one game with a win tonight at ScotiaBank Place. To do that against a team welcoming back it's biggest stars, the go-to line of AK27, AK46, and Tommy Turtleneck (hat-tip to Kev for the nickname) will have to shine brighter than ever. Some secondary scoing from Koivu and whoever he is centering will be needed as well, not to mention making the most of every powerplay opportunity they will get while staying out of the sin-bin. The Canadiens are losers of 3 of their last 5, and are trying to avoid falling into an official slump, one of their first of the season.
Montreal will be without Roman Hamrlik, who remains in quaratine while suffering from the flu. Michael Ryder will play tonight, with Mathieu Dandeneault designated as the healthy scratch. Cristobal Huet gets the call in goal.