The Ottawa Senators look to keep capitalizing on the visiting Montreal Canadiens’ scoring woes Tuesday night when the teams meet for the second time in three days.
Ottawa collected a 3-2 overtime victory over Montreal on Sunday, when the Senators outshot the Canadiens by a 6-0 margin in the extra frame, culminating in Brady Tkachuk’s game-winner at the 3:30 mark.
Senators head coach D.J. Smith saw the win as a sign of progress for his team.
“Our mentality in overtime — ‘Let’s win this thing and let’s not sit back,” Smith said. “You can see some of the young kids are starting to get confidence, starting to be a lot better with the puck. A year ago in overtime, we would just be hanging on, and (Sunday) I just thought we were attacking. We were dangerous.”
Tkachuk had a goal and an assist. The forward leads the Senators with 13 points (six goals, seven assists).
Ottawa is 3-2-0 over the past five games, with two of those victories coming in overtime.
While the Senators seem to be finding their form after a rough start to the season, the opposite is true for the Canadiens. After going 7-1-2 over their first 10 games, the Habs are only 2-4-1 in their last seven contests.
Montreal has scored only 13 goals scored in those seven games, so it isn’t hard to pinpoint the reason behind the team’s slump. Adding to the frustration, the Canadiens have outshot opponents five times in the seven-game stretch.
Forward Nick Suzuki said his feels the team is “pretty much all up in our own heads right now” and “overthinking” when a more straightforward offensive approach is required.
“We’re not scoring as much as we did at the start of the season, we know we have to bear down on those chances,” Suzuki said. “(We had) a couple of opportunities to shoot that we were looking to pass. We’ve just got to keep it simple as a team and just get back to the basics of what we were doing before.”
Suzuki snapped a personal four-game points drought by scoring 1:17 into Sunday’s game.
Both teams are looking to break out of major cold streaks on the power play.
Montreal is 1-for-18 with the man advantage over the last eight games, while the Senators are scoreless in their last 24 power-play chances, dating to Feb. 6 when Colin White scored against the Canadiens. But in that game, the Senators then went 0-for-5 on the power play at lost 2-1 and are 0-for-19 in the eight games since then.
Matt Murray is expected to be back in net for Ottawa after stopping 30 of 32 shots on Sunday. Murray is 6-2-0 with a .930 save percentage in eight career games against Montreal.
After Jake Allen made 36 saves to salvage a point for the Canadiens, starter Carey Price is expected to start on Tuesday. Price has yet to hit peak form this season, and he has only an .872 save percentage over his last four outings (0-3-0).
Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin made an early exit from Sunday’s game after being bodychecked into the glass by Mike Reilly in the second period, but he returned to practice Monday. Coach Claude Julien said Drouin would be available Tuesday.
For the Senators, Thomas Chabot (upper body injury) is questionable after missing two consecutive games.
The Canadiens still haven’t suffered a regulation loss in nine (6-0-3) road games this season.
This is the fourth meeting between the North Division rivals. Ottawa is 2-1-0 in the previous three.
–Field Level Media