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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 16th (All times Eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (26-16-5) at Ottawa Senators (21-18-8), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Ottawa Senators will try to gain some ground on an Atlantic Division rival as they welcome the Montreal Canadiens for Thursday's clash at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators have been playing their best hockey of the season lately, registering six wins during a seven-game point streak. Ottawa recently wrapped a four-game road trip with consecutive wins to post a 3-0-1 record on the trek.

Ottawa enters Thursday tied with Detroit for fifth in the Atlantic and is seven points in back of Montreal, which currently holds the third of the division's three automatic playoff spots.

The Sens have won the first two of five scheduled meetings with the Habs this season and recently picked up a 4-3 overtime win in Montreal on Jan. 4. Clarke MacArthur notched the OT game-winner with a power-play goal, lifting Ottawa to its third win in the last four meetings against the Habs.

The Canadiens have lost four straight games in Ottawa.

Robin Lehner helped Ottawa cap its recent trip with a win, as he stopped 27 shots to record his first shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Kyle Turris posted a goal and assist, while MacArthur and Erik Condra also lit the lamp. Erik Karlsson added two assists for the Senators.

Ottawa, which is 11-10-4 in Canada's capital city this season, is playing two straight on home ice before heading out on another four-game road trip. The Sens will host the New York Rangers on Saturday before beginning their swing Tuesday in Washington.

Montreal, meanwhile, is beginning a four-game road trip tonight and hopes to get back on the right track during the swing. The Canadiens have lost two of three and five of their last eight tilts and they recently split a two-game homestand.

The Habs beat Chicago 2-1 in overtime on Saturday before dropping a 4-1 decision Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. The Canadiens jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Devils, but then watched as the visitors scored four unanswered goals.

Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal of the season for the Canadiens, while Carey Price surrendered three goals on just 18 shots.

"It's just that they find ways to clear pucks and find ways to block shots," Pacioretty said. "They play as a group for 60 minutes. Jersey prides itself on playing games like that."

The Canadiens played Tuesday without forward David Desharnais, who is battling illness and is questionable for tonight's game.

Montreal has lost three of its last four games on the road, but is 12-8-2 as the visiting team this season.

Price expects to start in net for the Habs on Thursday and he is 14-6-4 with a 2.22 goals against average in his career against the Senators. Ottawa No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson is 6-6-1 lifetime with a 2.83 GAA versus Montreal, while Lehner is 1-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA in two career starts in this matchup.

01/16 10:52:49 ET

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