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 CANADIENS HOST SENATORS; KOVALEV SET TO RETURN, GET ON WITH HOCKEY!

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PostSubject: CANADIENS HOST SENATORS; KOVALEV SET TO RETURN, GET ON WITH HOCKEY!   Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:31 pm

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=268047&lid=sublink07&lpos=topRelated_main

(Sports Network) - Perhaps a return home and a visit from a club they have yet to lose to this season can help the Montreal Canadiens get out of their current funk. Montreal welcomes the Ottawa Senators to town this afternoon for a meeting at the Bell Centre.

Montreal returns home after going just 1-4-1 on a six-game road trip that dropped the team to just 13-16-3 as the visitor this season. However, the Canadiens have won six of their last eight as the host and are 17-6-4 at the Bell Centre this season.

The Habs' recent swing ended in Pittsburgh with a 5-4 loss to the Penguins on Thursday. Tomas Plekanec led the Canadiens with a pair of goals and an assist, while Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and two helper. Mathieu Schneider had his first goal in two games since being acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Thrashers by Montreal, which has lost seven of its last eight overall.

Goaltender Carey Price continued to struggle, turning away only 23-of-28 shots for Montreal. The young netminder is 2-8-1 in 13 games since returning from a lower-body injury on January 20.

Alex Kovalev, who did not travel with the team during their two-game road trip this past week, will return to the Montreal lineup against Ottawa.

The Habs, who were the Eastern Conference's top seed a season ago, have fallen 21 points behind Boston for first place in the Northeast Division. With 67 points, Montreal is one back of the fifth-seeded New York Rangers in the conference, but also just a point up on both Florida and Buffalo.

The Canadiens have won five straight over the Senators, including all three meetings so far this year. Montreal notched a 4-0 win on November 11 in the lone matchup between the teams this year at the Bell Centre, the Habs' fifth win in their last eight at home versus Ottawa.

The Sens have dropped two in a row following a five-game winning streak, losing Thursday night's home test versus the Vancouver Canucks, 5-2. Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher scored for the Senators, while Brian Elliott took the loss after yielding four goals on just 23 shots.

Ottawa announced prior to Thursday's contest that captain Daniel Alfredsson will miss at least a week's worth of action while recovering from a fractured jaw. He suffered the injury when he was struck in the face with a puck Tuesday in Colorado. He has 17 goals and 35 assists on the season.

The Senators will have a couple of new faces in their lineup. Forward Mike Comrie and defenceman Chris Campoli will make their first appearances for Ottawa after coming over in a Friday trade in exchange for Dean McAmmond and a draft pick.

The Senators had a four-game road winning streak end with Tuesday's loss in Colorado and are 10-16-4 as the guest this year. Following today's battle, Ottawa will return home to start an epic eight-game residency Tuesday versus Carolina.
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CANADIENS HOST SENATORS; KOVALEV SET TO RETURN, GET ON WITH HOCKEY!
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