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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Senators (Game #43)

HabsSens 
Match Up:

The Canadiens (24-14-4) return home to the Bell Centre Saturday when they play host to the Senators (18-18-7). The puck drops at 7:00 and the game can be seen on RDS and CBC.

This is the second of 5 meetings between the Habs and Sens this season, and the first in Montreal. The Senators won the first match 4-1 despite the Habs scoring the games first goal. Bobby Ryan had a goal and 2 assists for Ottawa.

What to Watch:

PK Subban and Max Pacioretty each had 4-point nights in Dallas. While Subban still leads the team in points, Pacioretty is now second on the team with 25 including 19 goals, despite missing 9 games with injury. Subban is up to 33 points on the season, with 2 goals and 4 assists in the last 2 games.

Bobby Ryan might have the most to prove in Thursday's game, he was left off the Team USA roster when the announcement was made New Year's day. Ryan ha 18 goals on the year, one less than his compatriot Max Pacioretty who was named to the roster.

Like PK Subban, Erik Karlsson leads his team in points with 38 on the season. The Norris Trophy winner from 2011-12 is second in defensive scoring.

What's at Stake:

This is Montreal's first home game of 2014 and their first game in the Bell Centre in two and a half weeks. With 52 points on the year, the Habs are keeping pace with the Lightning and Bruins but are still a step behind both teams.

Who's Out:

The Habs are without, Davis Drewiske (shoulder) and George Parros (concussion). Ryan White left Tuesday's game after a second period fight. Daniel Briere missed the last two games as a healthy scratch.

The Senators are missing Chris Neil (lower body), while Jason Spezza (hip) has missed the last 3 games and is day-to-day.

What Else:

The chase for Gold has heated up with Team USA naming its Olympic roster on New Year's Day. Montreal's Max Pacioretty made the cut but Alex Galchenyuk and Ottawa's Bobby Ryan and Craig Anderson were left off the team. Canada will name it's lineup on Tuesday, Carey Price and PK Subban look likely to make the team, although rumors persist that Subban is a bubble choice. Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris are both long-shots to make the cut, which could leave the Senators without a player on either Team Canada or Team USA. Luckily Erik Karlsson is a pretty safe bet to make Team Sweden.

The Question Mark:

Trade rumors are swirling in Montreal, what type of player do the Habs need most and what can they afford to give up to bring him to the team?

Let us know what you think, leave us a comment below or send us a tweet using the #MTLHockey hashtag.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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