Canadiens, Senators battle for first place

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Updated: February 25, 2013

A battle for first place in the Northeast Division is on
tap Monday evening in Canada’s capital city, as the streaking Ottawa Senators
host the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place.

The Canadiens currently sit atop the division and are tied for the Eastern
Conference lead with 26 points, two more than both Ottawa the Boston Bruins.

Ottawa enters Monday’s showdown on a four-game winning streak and the club is
4-1-0 since star defenseman Erik Karlsson was lost for the season after
suffering a severe cut to his left Achilles.

The last time Montreal played in Ottawa was on Jan. 30 and the Senators routed
the Habs by a 5-1 score for their second straight home win in this series.
Montreal answered with a 2-1 home win against the Sens on Feb. 3 and the
Canadiens have won seven of the past 11 meetings overall.

The Senators secured their longest winning streak of the season and improved
to 3-0 on a four-game homestand with Saturday’s thrilling victory over
Toronto, Colin Greening scored with 23.4 seconds remaining to lift Ottawa to
the 3-2 decision over the Maple Leafs in this season’s second installment of
the Battle of Ontario.

Greening also had two assists for the Senators, while Mika Zibanejad and Erik
Condra each added a goal and a helper to the cause.

With time winding down in regulation, Ottawa’s Patrick Wiercioch fired a shot
on net from the right point. Toronto’s Ben Scrivens made the save but left a
rebound for Greening, batted the puck out of the air and into the net for the
game-winner.

“Being able to score on Ben is one of those weird situations,” said Greening,
who played college hockey with Scrivens at Cornell. “You always want him to do
well, but not too well, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Ben Bishop made 26 saves for Ottawa as he started in place of for injured No.
1 goaltender Craig Anderson, who is out with a sprained right ankle suffered
Thursday against the New York Rangers. Anderson is day-to-day and isn’t
expected to suit up for Monday’s battle with the Habs.

The Senators, who are 8-1-2 as the host this season, will embark on a five-
game road trip following Monday’s contest. The swing begins Thursday in
Boston.

Montreal posted a shutout win Saturday against the visiting Rangers and has
recorded a point in seven straight games, going 6-0-1 in those contests.

The Canadiens lost in overtime to the New York Islanders on Thursday but
salvaged the second portion of a brief two-game homestand on Saturday.
Erik Cole, Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller all had second-period goals as the
Habs cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Rangers at Bell Centre.

All three players also recorded an assist to back a 17-save performance from
Carey Price that resulted in the Montreal goaltender’s 18th career shutout.

“It was a good team effort for 60 minutes,” said Eller. “Our new line
(referring to he, Cole and Galchenyuk) seemed to be clicking very well.”

Habs forward Rene Bourque sat out Saturday with flu-like symptoms and is
questionable for Monday’s game.

Monday’s test kicks off a stretch of seven road outings in eight games for the
Canadiens, who are 4-1-1 as the visiting team this season.