Having just ended their latest losing stretch, the Montreal Canadiens now must find a way start stringing together some victories once again.
The Canadiens aim to build on an impressive road win when they look to continue their recent success over the host Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Montreal has tough odds to reach the playoffs and already dealt defenseman Marco Scandella to St. Louis. However, the Canadiens have shown they are capable of putting wins together, and another lengthy, positive run could possibly provide some hope down the stretch.
Montreal went 9-3-0 from Jan. 11-Feb. 8 before going 0-4-1 to mark its third stretch this season with at least five consecutive losses.
The Canadiens ended their most recent winless skid with Thursday’s 4-3 overtime victory at Washington.
Although Montreal allowed the tying goal late in regulation, it regrouped and prevailed on defenseman Ben Chiarot’s second goal of the game just 58 seconds into overtime.
“I liked our effort from start to finish,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien told the team’s official website. “We spoke about the importance of playing 60 minutes and we able to do it.”
That will again be the goal this weekend for Montreal, which is 6-0-2 versus Ottawa since losing there on Dec. 16, 2017. The Canadiens are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games against the Senators, who dropped the last two meetings this season in overtime after winning 2-1 in overtime at Montreal on Nov. 20.
Montreal star Carey Price, who stopped 29 shots Thursday, has a 1.78 goals-against average during a 4-0-1 stretch versus Ottawa. Backup Charlie Lindgren is 1-3-0 with a 3.48 goals-against average in four games this season.
Brendan Gallagher, who secured his third straight season with at least 20 goals for the Canadiens on Thursday, has two assists against the Senators this season.
Those rebuilding Senators failed in their attempt at a third consecutive victory with a 5-1 loss to Winnipeg on Thursday to fall to 3-2-0 on a six-game homestand. Ottawa’s Nick Paul opened the scoring, but the Jets took over from there. Marcus Hogberg made 29 saves and has allowed eight goals in losing his last two starts.
“We just didn’t play smart enough,” first-year Ottawa coach D.J. Smith told NHL.com. “That’s really what it is.
“I don’t think we got to their net nearly enough. We’ve got to be a little harder offensively.”
Ottawa, which totaled 11 goals in winning two straight prior to Thursday, has totaled five goals against the Canadiens this season.
Brady Tkachuk has recorded two of his 18 goals this season versus Montreal, and also added an assist. Tkachuk’s four-game point streak (two goals, five assists) ended against the Jets.
Teammate Craig Anderson, among several Senators rumored as trade possibilities again this season, has won his last two starts despite yielding seven goals. He made 35 saves during the November victory at Montreal.
Chiarot, who has a career-high nine goals this season, also scored an overtime goal in a 3-2 home win over the Senators on Dec. 11.
–Field Level Media