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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 4th (All times Eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (43-27-7) at Ottawa Senators (32-30-14), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - As the Montreal Canadiens fight for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, the Ottawa Senators continue to battle for their postseason lives.

The clubs square off for the fifth and final time this regular season on Friday night in Ottawa.

Despite having a five-game winning streak halted with Tuesday's 3-1 setback to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens still secured their second straight postseason berth thanks to losses by the New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals.

Montreal, though, did fall into a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division with the Lightning, their likely first-round opponent, and Tampa Bay was unable to snap the deadlock thanks to a regulation setback to the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Both teams have five games remaining in the regular season, but none against each other.

The Senators, meanwhile, got back into the playoff discussion with a 4-0-1 streak, but saw that run end with Wednesday's 2-1 setback to the New York Islanders.

That has Ottawa seven points back of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with six games to play.

The Senators gave up the go-ahead goal while shorthanded in Wednesday's loss, while Milan Michalek managed Ottawa's lone goal. Craig Anderson turned aside 25 shots as Ottawa's three-game winning streak came to an end.

"They scored on two power plays tonight. We have to be better on the penalty kill and do better with the chances they give to us," said Michalek, who has four goals over his last four games.

Ottawa captain Jason Spezza and defenseman Jared Cowen both missed their second consecutive games due to lower-body injuries.

The Senators conclude a five-game homestand tonight and begin a quick two-game road trip against New York teams with Saturday's contest versus the Rangers.

Anderson is 6-6-2 with a 2.99 goals against average in his career against the Canadiens and is expected to play tonight.

Montreal also will play on back-to-back nights as it hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Canadiens are coming off just their second loss in 10 games after being bested by the Lightning.

Brendan Gallagher had the only goal of the game for the Canadiens, while Carey Price allowed two goals on 32 shots.

"We missed a chance to create some space in the standings," said Price. "I think we matched up pretty well with those guys and we tend to bring out the best in each other. That's a good team over there."

Montreal lost defenseman Douglas Murray to a match penalty after he caught Tampa Bay blueliner Michael Kostka in the head with an elbow late in the third period. Murray had a disciplinary hearing on Thursday and was issued a three- game suspension. He will be eligible to return to action on April 10.

Montreal concludes a four-game road trip and is expected to give backup Peter Budaj the start tonight. He lost his only previous encounter with the Sens, giving up five goals on 27 shots.

The last three meetings between these clubs have all been decided in overtime, the most recent two won by the Canadiens. Montreal snapped a four-game slide in Ottawa with a 5-4 overtime victory on Jan. 16, with P.K. Subban scoring 23 seconds into the extra frame and Price making 40 saves.

Defenseman Erik Karlsson registered a goal and two assists for the Senators, while Anderson made just 18 saves.

04/04 10:43:57 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
Final
ANA 1
TEX 2
Final
OAK 8
PHI 6
Final
COL 8
ARI 3
Final
SDP 8
SFG 2
Final
STL 2
CIN 7
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
WAS 1
BUF 0
Final
CLB 4
STL 3
Final
EDM 3
CAL 1
Final
CAL 1
EDM 0
1:30pm Today
NYI
OTT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NYI
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
ANA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
COL
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARI
LOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
Final
PHI 37
WAS 34
Final
ARI 23
SFX 14
Final
SEA 26
DEN 20
Final
MIA 15
KAN 34
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
8:30pm Tonight
NYJ
CHI