Montreal looks to move one step closer to its first division title since 1991-92 when it hosts the Northeast Division's second-place Ottawa Senators on Monday.
The Sens have dominated the Habs this season, going 5-1 in the 6 of 8 games played thus far in the season-series. The Habs will really need to bring the A+ game to turn the fortunes around and make the most of what's supposed to be "Lucky Number 7".
Since dropping their first (and only) game to Montreal in game 4 of the series, the Senators have responded and rebounded in spades, winning their last 2 contests 6-1 and 3-0 respectively.
The line of Spezza centering Alfredsson and Heatley has been the NHL's most productive this season, combining for 106 goals. But the trio hasn't played any better than when they've faced the Canadiens.
Spezza has seven goals, Alfredsson four and Heatley three against Montreal in only five games apiece, and they've combined for 36 points.
If the Habs are to indeed turn their fortunes around, a lot of that destiny lies in the hands (and pads) of goaltender Carey Price.
Carey is fresh off a thrilling week which saw him play in some high pressure games, as the Habs played two games to round out the season-series with Boston by sweeping them 8-0. Price is keen to responding to pressure, as we've seen him do as a junior in the WJC leading Canada to gold, and as a minor-leaguer, leading the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs to the Calder Cup last season after joining the team very late in the season.
Price has lost both starts vs. Ottawa this season, but with the posibility of extending their Northeast lead to 7 points - and the dread of dropping the lead to 3 - Carey is expected to bring his own A+ game to the ice tonight.
Carbonneau stated Sunday that there would be no changes to the winning lineup, meaning Latendresse will continue to rest his ailing neck.
Ottawa have recently re-acquired Chris Neil's services, but will be without Chris Kelly who fractured his shin. Martin Gerber will start his 11th straight for Ottawa. Gerber shutout the Habs in Montreal the last time around on March 13th...a game I reluctantly confess to having attended.
Puck drop scheduled for 7:38.
with extracts from AP.