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GAME: Ottawa Senators (50-19-8) at Montreal Canadiens (40-28-9).
TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.
The Ottawa Senators hope to snap their worst losing streak of the season when they visit the Montreal Canadiens, who just saw their season's best run come to an end.
The Senators had their Northeast Division lead slip to six points with a 6-2 loss to the second-place Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Ottawa is tied with Carolina for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but has lost a season-high three in a row and is 2-4-2 in its last eight games.
Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist on Saturday and has five goals and four assists in six games against Montreal this season. Patrick Eaves also scored for the Senators, who allowed six or more goals for the fourth time this season.
"Everything caught up to us (Saturday)," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "We were behind them all night."
Goaltender Ray Emery allowed four goals on 22 shots before being pulled for Michael Morrison, who gave up the final two goals on nine shots.
"I didn't think I made any huge mistakes," said Emery, who is 3-2 against Montreal this season with a 3.27 goals-against average. "When things aren't going in your favor you've got to do anything you can to change that."
The undermanned Senators continue to be without defensemen Wade Redden (personal reasons) and Chris Phillips (left knee sprain), forward Martin Havlat (shoulder) and goaltender Dominik Hasek (abducter muscle) while defenseman Zdeno Chara (hand) is day-to-day.
The Senators have lost three of their last four meetings with the Canadiens following a stretch where they went 9-2 against them.
Montreal beat Ottawa 5-3 in their last matchup on Thursday, which was the Canadiens' eighth straight win, their longest streak in more than 11 years. The run ended one game later, however, with a 3-2 defeat to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Montreal trailed 3-0 midway through the third period before getting goals from Mike Ribeiro and Chris Higgins, but couldn't get the equalizer.
"It's a tough team to play when you're down 3-0 or 2-0, and that's when I think they're at their best," said Saku Koivu, who added an assist. "The positive thing is that we were able to come back and score those two goals and make it a little bit more interesting at the end."
The Canadiens are trying to hold onto one of the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots. Montreal faces a challenging schedule, meeting Ottawa, Buffalo twice, Boston and New Jersey in its five remaining contests.
STANDINGS: Senators - 108 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Canadiens - 89 points, 3rd place, 19 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Dany Heatley, 47 goals and 96 points; Jason Spezza, 67 assists; Chris Neil, 180 PIM. Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 29 goals; Koivu, 43 assists; Alexei Kovalev and Koivu, 60 points; Todd Simpson, 125 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 21.3 percent (97 for 456), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.0 percent (387 for 455), 4th. Canadiens - Power play: 19.7 percent (87 for 441), 5th. Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (372 for 460), 22nd.
GOALTENDERS: Senators - Emery (22-9-4, 3 SO, 2.81 GAA); Morrison (10-4-2, 2.83). Canadiens - David Aebischer (27-16-2, 3, 3.12); Cristobal Huet (18-9-4, 7, 2.12).
SEASON SERIES: Senators, 4-3.
LAST MEETING: April 6; Canadiens, 5-3. At Ottawa, Ribeiro had a goal and two assists and Aebischer made 44 saves to lead the Canadiens to victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 22-10-6 on the road; Canadiens - 23-11-4 at home.
|Apr 10 '06||OTT 2 at MTL 3|
|Apr 06 '06||MTL 5 at OTT 3|
|Jan 26 '06||MTL 0 at OTT 3|
|Jan 07 '06||OTT 1 at MTL 4|
|Dec 20 '05||OTT 3 at MTL 4 - SO|
|Nov 29 '05||MTL 0 at OTT 4|
|Oct 27 '05||MTL 3 at OTT 4 - OT|
|Oct 11 '05||OTT 4 at MTL 2|