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The Ottawa Senators will honor the memory of Guy Lafleur with a moment of silence before the puck is dropped against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

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The former Montreal Canadiens’ great, who grew up only 40 minutes outside of Ottawa in nearby Thurso, Que., passed away Friday after a lengthy battle with lung cancer as the hockey world mourned the passing one of the best to ever lace up the skates in his 17-year NHL career.

The 70-year-old Lafleur won five Stanley Cups in his career with the Habs and will be remembered for skating down the ice in his No. 10 jersey, which now hangs in the rafters at the Bell Centre, with his long, flowing hair and scoring some of the biggest goals in franchise history.

Lafleur was an icon, who scored 518 goals and 1,246 points in 14 seasons with the Canadiens, brought the fans to their feet at the old Montreal Forum with chants of “Guy, Guy, Guy”.

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“You can never prepare yourself for the moment,” Habs’ owner Geoff Molson told reporters Friday. “I have gotten to know Guy, especially over the past 12 years quite well. Yes, it’s emotional and, yes, he’s leaving us too early.

“I’m still absorbing it all and I’ll do my best to keep my control, but it’s tough. He’s an integral part of this organization and he’s not with us anymore.”

His loss hits home with people in Ottawa because in the old days of Hockey Night in Canada the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs were beamed into our living rooms which meant you were either in one camp or the other.

Those who have watched the game know what “The Flower” meant and late CBC broadcaster Danny Gallivan could anticipate the excitement every time Lafleur so much as touched the puck.

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“As I kid, I remember watching him flying up and down the wing,” Ottawa coach DJ Smith said Friday in Columbus before the club faced the Blue Jackets. “I saw him at the end of his career with New York, but more on video in the prime of his career than him and certainly a legend in Montreal, but just a legend in hockey.

“You picture him going down the wing, scoring goals and it’s a sad time for his family and for the Montreal Canadiens to be losing him. He wasn’t that old and it’s sad to be losing a great like that.”

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HARD WORK PAYS OFF

The decision to start backup Filp Gustavsson in Columbus means we’ll see Anton Forsberg face the Habs Saturday night.

It will be the 100th start of Forsberg’s NHL career and it’s been a long road for him to establish himself, but he’s done so this season by signing a three-year extension with Ottawa. The 29-year-old has a 19-17-4 record this season with a .919 save-percentage and a 2.17 goals-against average.

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“It’s his work ethic that has allowed him (to stay in the NHL),” Smith said. “A lot of guys may have gone back to Europe or given up on their dream. He just kept going and now he’s found himself a home.

“I foresee him to be in the NHL for the next five-to-seven years.”

Forsberg will have the option to play for Team Sweden at next month’s IIHF world championship in Helsinki.

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THE LAST WORDS

It looks like Thomas Chabot may be able to suit up next week after breaking his wrist March 16 against Columbus.

The club’s top defenseman has been skating in Ottawa and would like to get a game or two in before the season ends Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road.

Chabot has six goals and 34 points in 55 games with Ottawa this season. As long as he’s healthy, he’s expected to suit up for Team Canada next month in Helsinki along with wingers Drake Batherson and Connor Brown.

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