Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Senators game Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre (7 p.m., CITY, SN360, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio):
The matchup: Going into the season, the expectations for these teams were low after they traded their captains and embarked on rebuilding (retooling?) programs. The Canadiens have confounded the pundits by posting a 4-1-1 record and they are coming off a last-minute 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues Wednesday. Montreal is tied for second in the Atlantic Division. The Senators, who have been off since beating Dallas 4-1 Monday, are 3-2-1 and one point away from a wild-card spot.
Price eyeing a milestone: Carey Price is expected to get the start in goal and he’ll be looking for his 289th win. That would tie him with Hall of Famer Patrick Roy for second place on the Canadiens’ all-time list for wins, although Roy leads Price 2-0 in Stanley Cup wins as a Canadien. Price is 26 wins behind the all-time leader, Jacques Plante, who won 314 games in an era when the season was only 70 games long.
Sore back sidelines Plekanec: After sitting out the first three games as a healthy scratch, veteran Tomas Plekanec has landed on the injured-reserve list with a lower-back ailment. The injury opens a roster spot for Nicolas Deslauriers, who has been sidelined by a facial fracture. Head coach Claude Julien said he’ll wait until Saturday to determine his lineup, but indications are that Deslauriers, Andrew Shaw and Matthew Peca will form the fourth line, with Charles Hudon as a healthy scratch.
Tatar on a roll: Tomas Tatar, who was acquired on the eve of training camp in the trade that sent Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights, has collected seven points over the past three games. He is the Canadiens’ leading scorer, with three goals and eight points, while linemate Brendan Gallagher leads in goals (four). It’s far too early to say Montreal won the Tatar trade, but Pacioretty is stuck on one goal in seven games with Vegas.
The other guys: Rookie Brady Tkachuk had three goals and three assists in his first four games, but he’s out for a month with a leg injury. The Senators traded two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, but they have two of the best young defencemen in the league in 21-year-old Thomas Chabot and 20-year-old Max Lajoie. Chabot and Chris Tierney share the team scoring lead with eight points each, while Lajoie has seven points, including a team-leading four goals.