Sens place Kassian in lineup for Conacher

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The Ottawa Senators edged the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 on Thursday, but with a quick turnaround today and all the ruggedness from last night in mind, it appears that they’re readying for a battle on Friday.

At least, that would seem to be the simplest explanation for why the team opted to replace pint-sized winger Cory Conacher with beefy forward Matt Kassian (no relation to Zack in Vancouver), according to the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.

The Habs will be without some skill of their own since Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta join Lars Eller on the sidelines, so the absence of Conacher’s finesse might be less pronounced. It’s also worth noting that both Kassian and Conacher are in their first career NHL playoff series, so it’s not as if there’s a big experience edge.