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Marinaro: Habs face surprising Senators at Bell Centre

Tony Marinaro
3/14/2012 12:40:25 PM
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The Montreal Canadiens return to the Bell Centre after a reasonably successful road trip, playing four games in seven nights. The Canadiens went 2-1-1, but the real story was the long awaited return of Andrei Markov.
 
Despite being victimized by Tyler Ennis on Monday, Markov's performance was encouraging. He showed his worth in the final minute of regulation when he stood up Ville Leino prior to the Habs equalizer. The possibility of an entire season next to P.K. Subban on the point is one that should have Habs fans salivating.
 
Tonight's opponent is the Ottawa Senators. The Sens, who are just two points behind Boston in their division, are the biggest surprise in the East. A big part of their success so far this season has been Erik Karlsson. Karlsson, on only his third season in the NHL, has 69 points in 69 games, is a plus-15, and should be considered for the Norris Trophy. 
 
Despite the Canadiens' struggles this year, they do play well against Ottawa; having won two of three contests. Ottawa, however, has won six of their last eight at the Bell Centre.
 
Scott Gomez won't be in the lineup tonight. He suffered a concussion against the Sabres. Raphael Diaz didn't practice as he's dealing with a lower-body injury. Tomas Kaberle also won't be in the lineup as he'll be a little busy. He and his girlfriend are expecting a baby. Frederic St-Denis has been called up to fill the void on defense.
 
For the Senators, Jason Spezza missed the morning skate.

In goal, Ben Bishop gets the start for the Sens. His counterpart is Carey Price for the Habs.
 
You can follow me on twitter @tonymarinaro

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