The Montreal Canadiens are beginning to find their way a bit after two wins in the last three contests and look to build off that when they begin a tough four-game road trip Monday night against the rival Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens took a big lead, coughed it up and found another goal to knock off the New York Rangers 5-4 on Saturday while posting at least 40 shots for the fifth time this season.
“When we compete and win battles and when we hound teams like that, we know we’re a tough team to play against,” Montreal right wing Brendan Gallagher told reporters. “We did a good job of that (Saturday). Obviously, we’re not happy we let them back in it, but we were able to stick with it.” The Canadiens will try to win their fourth straight against Senators, who have lost in regulation just once this season despite several key injuries and illnesses. “It’s a tribute to the players dedication and character,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher told reporters. “… There’s a lot of guys in there playing injured. It’s hard to ask for more.” The Senators own at least a point in five straight contests (2-0-3), but have dropped five of their six games that ended in overtime or a shootout.
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ABOUT THE CANADIENS (3-7-1): Former third overall draft pick Alex Galchenyuk has shown signs of life with two goals in his last three games and center Phillip Danault recorded a career-high four points in Saturday’s win. Danault’s big night pulled him within one of Jonathan Drouin (eight points) for the team lead while Gallagher and defenseman Shea Weber are next with six. Former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner Carey Price continues to battle through early-season woes (.883 save percentage), but is 20-8-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .919 save percentage lifetime versus Ottawa
ABOUT THE SENATORS (5-1-5): No. 1 center Kyle Turris (eight points, nine games) has missed the last two games with a viral infection and is doubtful for the Montreal matchup, but did skate during practice Sunday. Mark Stone, who is one point from 200 in his career, leads the team with seven goals - four in the last four games - and 12 points while defenseman Erik Karlsson boasts nine assists in six games since returning from foot surgery. Left wing Mike Hoffman has recorded nine points in the last eight contests after being kept off the scoresheet in each of the first three games.
1. Ottawa F Alex Burrows needs two assists to reach 200 and two points to get to 400 in his career.
2. Montreal captain LW Max Pacioretty has scored in two of the last three games and is one power-play goal from 50 in his career.
3. Senators G Craig Anderson, who was rested in Friday’s 5-4 shootout loss at New Jersey, owns an .898 career save percentage versus Montreal.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 5, Senators 3