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Canadiens at home facing elimination by Senators

by Arpon Basu


(Ottawa leads best-of-7 series, 3-1)


Big story: The Montreal Canadiens were 22.6 seconds away from tying this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal and taking back home ice advantage, but it was the Ottawa Senators who tied Game 4 and won in overtime, taking a stranglehold on the series. But the biggest impact of that tying goal may have been the health of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who was injured on the play and will now miss, at a minimum, the rest of the series.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa obviously was happy to come away from Game 4 with a win, but most of the players recognized they did not play their best game.

On one hand that can be encouraging, that they won despite not putting forth their best effort. But on the other hand it's of some concern because the Senators can't continue getting away with that.

"It was a character win," said forward Cory Conacher, the Game 4 hero who tied the game in the dying seconds of regulation. "We obviously can't do that the rest of the playoffs, take a period or two off."

One player who looked to have a particularly rough night was defenseman Erik Karlsson, perhaps because he was playing his fourth game in six nights after missing so much time with a torn Achilles tendon.

Coach Paul MacLean, however, was not overly concerned after the game.

"With Erik, we always like it when he plays for us. Sometimes tonight, I thought he played for both teams. When that happens, we don't like it very much," MacLean said, able to joke about it because of the victory. "But let's face it, Erik makes us a better team, he makes our power play better, and he's a very important player on our team."

Canadiens: Wednesday brought more bad injury news to Montreal. Captain Brian Gionta's season is over with a torn biceps muscle in his left arm, and forwards Ryan White and Brandon Prust were ruled out for Game 5.

But the big news, however, was Price's injury, which forced a cold Peter Budaj into overtime.

Not only did Budaj take full responsibility for Kyle Turris' overtime goal, even though replays appeared to show the puck might have slightly deflected off defenseman Raphael Diaz's elbow, the goaltender expressed confidence in Montreal's ability to erase the 3-1 deficit it finds itself in.

"We're just going to try and stick together," Budaj said. "We have a great dressing room and a great bunch of guys. We've done it many times during the season that we won more than three in a row. I believe in our group."

Montreal had two five-game winning streaks over the course of the regular season, one four-game streak and a three-game streak.

Who's hot: Turris has two goals and an assist in his past two games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson has a goal and three assists in the same span. Karlsson has a goal and four assists in the series. … Canadiens forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Rene Bourque, Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban lead the team with three points each.

Injury report: The Canadiens are missing forward Lars Eller (concussion, facial fractures), defenseman Alexei Emelin (knee), Gionta (torn biceps), Prust (upper body), White (upper body) and Price (lower body)…The Senators are without defenseman Patrick Wiercioch (lower body), center Jason Spezza (back) and center Mike Hoffman (upper body).

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