Senators can't afford to be Hab-nots

Senators forward Chris Neil (right) reacts after goaltender Ben Bishop robs him with a glove save...

Senators forward Chris Neil (right) reacts after goaltender Ben Bishop robs him with a glove save during practice at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., March 13, 2012. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

OTTAWA - Ben Bishop is about to get a slice of hockey Canadiena served up Wednesday night in Montreal.

With only one loss in four starts since being called up after dealt to Ottawa by St. Louis, the Senators goalie will get his first exposure to being part of a Canadian NHL rivalry at the Bell Centre.

While Bishop has witnessed the atmosphere on TV and has sought advice from his teammates, he knows it won’t be an easy night, even with the Habs out out of the playoff picture.

“It’s one of those places you always want to go and play a game so I’m really excited,” said Bishop before the Senators boarded a train to Montreal Tuesday. “I heard it’s like playing in a soccer stadium: They’re hootin’ and hollerin’ the whole game.

“It should be a lot of fun. It will kind of take me back to my college days when I was getting screamed at the whole game, so it should be fun.”

While the Habs are ranked 15th in the East and the Senators pretty much have a playoff spot locked up, coach Paul MacLean doesn’t want the players to take their foot off the pedal with only 12 games left in the regular season. Ottawa still has a chance of catching Boston to get home-ice advantage in Round 1.

“I don’t think I’m comfortable. I know that,” said MacLean. “We just try to address (our situation) on a daily basis of just staying in the moment and not getting too far ahead of ourselves by not assuming anything has been done or accomplished at this point in time.

“If we continue to have that approach, we’ll guard against (feeling comfortable). It’s important, I know. You want to peak at the right time. We want to finish the season first and we to get to the 82nd game and see where we are. If we’re in the right spot, we feel we’ll be playing fine.”

Many in the Senators dressing room experienced what the Habs are going through. The players have nothing to lose, much like the Senators were under Cory Clouston last spring.

“We played pretty good last year at the end. Everybody plays with pride,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “They’re playing pretty good and I’m pretty sure they want to make sure they finish strong going into next year.

“For us, it’s two more points on the line. We’ve got to make sure we bring our intensity and play smart. They’re playing a little bit more relaxed. If we give them chances, they’re going to be flying and cheating a little bit. We’re going to have to be very poised with the puck.

“We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves to be better all the time,” he said. “We have to be good in all areas.”

“We know it’s a dangerous team to play against,” said centre Jason Spezza. “We have to be wary going into their building. They’re always ready to bring their best. They’ve played really well lately.”


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