Cayden Primeau will start in goal for Habs after Jake Allen played in 12 of the last 14 games.
Here are five things you should know about Saturday night’s game between the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).
The goalies: Cayden Primeau will start in goal for the Canadiens after Jake Allen played in 12 of the last 14 games. This will be Primeau’s second start of the season after allowing four goals on 33 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on April 24 (the fifth goal was an empty-netter). Matt Murray has struggled during his first season with the Senators after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins last October and then signing a four-year, US$25-million contract. Murray has a 10-13-1 record with a 3.38 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage.
Back-to-back for Habs: The Canadiens are coming off a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Friday night at the Bell Centre after they were trailing 3-1 in the second period. It was a big win for the Canadiens, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the all-Canadian North Division and improved their record to 22-18-9, moving six points ahead of the fifth-place Calgary Flames (22-24-3). Both teams have seven games remaining in the regular season with the Flames visiting the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night (10 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports2). The Senators (19-27-4) haven’t played since Wednesday when they beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3. With that win the Senators moved out of last place in the North Division, one point ahead of Vancouver (19-22-3), but the Canucks hold six games in hand. This will be the ninth of 10 games this season between the Canadiens and Senators. The Canadiens have a 3-3-2 record in the first eight games against Ottawa and have lost the last two games by scores of 6-3 and 4-0.
Injury list: Captain Shea Weber was added to the Canadiens’ injury list Friday with an upper-body injury and didn’t play against the Jets. He is not expected to play against the Senators. The Canadiens also have Tomas Tatar (lower body), Paul Byron (lower body), Jonathan Drouin (personal reasons), Brendan Gallagher (fractured thumb) and goalie Carey Price (concussion) on the injured list. Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said after Friday’s game that Weber suffered the injury at the start of the Canadiens’ five game Western Canada road trip that ended last Monday and had been playing through it.
Senators turn things around: This young Senators team got off to a terrible start this season, going 1-8-1 in their first 10 games while being outscored 48-24. But they have slowly turned things around and have a 5-1-0 record in their last six games. Brady Tkachuk leads the Senators in scoring with 16-18-34 totals and the 21-year-old left-winger leads the NHL with 201 shots — four more than the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL with 36 goals. Tkachuk also ranks second in the NHL in hits with 215, eight less than Florida Panthers defenceman Radko Gudas. Tyler Toffoli leads the Canadiens with 143 shots, while Alexander Romanov leads the Canadiens with 122 hits.
Mete gets first goal: Former Canadiens defenceman Victor Mete scored his first goal with the Senators in Wednesday’s victory over the Canucks. It’s the only point Mete has in eight games with the Senators since being claimed off waivers from the Canadiens. In 14 games with the Canadiens this season, Mete had 0-3-3 totals and he only scored five goals in 193 career games with Montreal. Mete is averaging 13:54 of ice time with the Senators and is plus-2 while being paired with Josh Brown, who is 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds. “We have really good chemistry,” Mete said. “He’s a bigger guy so he’s taking the hits, but he’s a pretty good puck-mover so we talk a lot on the ice there. He lets me do the skating and the puck moving, but I also know he’s going to be back there to support me and let me do my thing.”