Habs battle Sens in Northeast Division clash

10:11 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The first-place Montreal Canadiens will shoot for a fourth straight victory when they host the Ottawa Senators in Wednesday's Northeast Division clash at Bell Centre.

With 38 points the Canadiens are leading the Northeast by one point over Boston and are seven points ahead of Ottawa and Toronto.

Montreal posted its third consecutive win Sunday at Florida. Michael Ryder scored a pair of goals in the 5-2 victory and helped the Habs improve to 11-1-3 over their last 15 contests.

Brian Gionta, David Desharnais and Francis Bouillon also lit the lamp on Sunday. Backup Peter Budaj gave No. 1 goaltender Carey Price a break and stopped 14 of 16 shots he saw in the triumph. Budaj is 4-1-1 this season but Price is expected to get the start on Wednesday.

"I was very happy with the way we dictated the match tonight and played our game at our rhythm right until the very end," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien remarked.

The victory allowed Montreal to cap its five-game road trip with a 4-1-0 record. The Canadiens are 8-3-2 as the host this season.

Wednesday's contest is the final test of the season series between the Senators and Canadiens. Ottawa has claimed two of three encounters so far but Montreal won the only meeting on its home ice.

Ottawa lost for the fifth time in six games in its last trip to the ice, but the Sens were able to record a point in the 3-2 shootout loss to Boston. David Krejci scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lift the Bruins to the road win.

Guillaume Latendresse and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators, who had won five in a row at home before Monday's setback. Robin Lehner stopped 33-of-35 shots.

The Senators lit the lamp just 55 seconds into the game. Latendresse, playing his first game since Jan. 30, stole the puck, went in on a breakaway and beat Rask with a backhander.

"For the first shift like that to get a goal (after being out six weeks) was pretty fun. It was a good feeling," Latendresse said.

Sens forward Milan Michalek missed Monday's test with a knee injury and is expected to sit out Wednesday as well. Michalek could be back this weekend in either Saturday's tilt at Buffalo or the following day's home test versus Winnipeg.

Ottawa is just 4-7-2 as the visiting team this season and has lost its last three games in Montreal.

The Sports Network

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