THE STORY: The Ottawa Senators are really rolling now, having knocked off the NHL-leading New York Rangers in their last contest. Now they take on the reeling Montreal Canadiens, who have skipped, jumped and hopped from one controversy to the next all season long. The Senators should remain wary, however. They’re already dropped two contests to the Habs this season.
THE SUBPLOTS: The Canadiens’ latest bizarre move was pulling Mike Cammalleri from Thursday night’s game against the Boston Bruins and putting him in a cab back to the team hotel. He eventually found out that he’d been shipped to the Calgary Flames for Rene Bourque, one day after criticizing his own team for preparing and acting like “losers.” Funny, you’d think they’d want to keep the guy who has a serious problem with losing.
THE WILDCARD: Craig Anderson, Senators. Anderson was the weak link on this team earlier this season, but has since morphed into one of its most important players. Anderson has improved his save percentage every month this season, posting a .946 so far this month. Ottawa has been a scoring machine all season long — if Anderson continues his strong play, the sky’s the limit.
THE OPPONENT: The Habs are currently dead last in the Northeast Division, a spot the Senators were supposed to be occupying this season. Could it be they’re actually deserving of that spot? You could make a strong argument that Montreal has punched above its weight the past few seasons, riding strong goaltending and Jacques Martin’s stifling defensive system to surprising success. Could fans there be in a for a couple long years while the team resets?
THE QUOTE: “We respect every team we play, we’re not going to take anything for granted, and that’s why it feels so good to be winning, because we’re earning it. We’re not getting lucky all the time. We’re doing a lot of good things, putting ourselves in a good position, and we’ve had players step up each and every night.” — Daniel Alfredsson on the Senators’ winning attitude.
THE PREDICTION: Here’s another potential trap game for the Senators, who are playing with a lot of confidence. It’s a fine line between that and overconfidence, however, and you have to think they’re due for a reality check soon. I think it’ll happen Saturday night in Montreal. Senators 2, Canadiens 3.