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NHL Picks: Canadiens keep strong start rolling against Senators

Monday, October 12, 2015 7:31:53 AM America/Los_Angeles

It's usually pretty difficult to have especially meaningful games in the first week of the season, but Sunday night's contest between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators will come pretty close.

Both Atlantic Division clubs have started the season 2-0-0 and there might be a little residual bad blood left over from the heated playoff series between the Habs and Sens last postseason. Montreal won the series in six games, ending Ottawa's dream run to close out the 2014-15 campaign.

With both teams playing the back end of back-to-backs, we might also be getting the first glimpse of back-up goalies Mike Condon and Matthew O'Connor for Montreal and Ottawa, respectively. The two rookies could be making their NHL debuts, while spelling starters Carey Price and Craig Anderson, who each were between the pipes Saturday night. Condon beat out established backup Dustin Tokarski in camp, while O'Connor is on the roster in place of the injured Andrew Hammond.

One of the big moments in Montreal's first-round win against the Senators last year was P.K. Subban's slash on forward Mark Stone, which ended up fracturing Stone's wrist. With two valuable points on the line for both clubs in a divisional game, there may not be enough time to exact revenge, but you'd have to imagine Ottawa is coming into the game with a little more juice.

Stone is already off to a hot start, with four points through the first two games. He and Kyle Turris, who has three goals to start the season, have been keying the attack, while defenseman Erik Karlsson has been involved offensively as usual with three assists.

The Sens got all they could handle from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-4 shootout win Saturday, while the Habs cruised to a 4-2 win over the depleted Boston Bruins on the road.

Both teams are rolling early, so this one looks like it should be a close, heated game. It's also the only show in the league on the first Sunday of the season. So you'll have to savor it.

Posted in Nhl By

Sabina