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Canadiens eye sweep of Senators in Game 4

by Sean Farrell /


TV: CBC, USA, TVA Sports

Montreal leads best-of-7 series 3-0

The Montreal Canadiens have an opportunity Wednesday to begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a series sweep in consecutive years for the first time since 1987.

Montreal leads its Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators 3-0 and can become the first team to advance in the 2015 playoffs with a Game 4 win iat Canadian Tire Centre.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price would like to see Montreal get off to its best start of the series Wednesday. Ottawa has scored the first goal and led 1-0 after the first period in each of the first three games.

"We're just going to take the same approach we've taken every game," Price said after practice in Saint-Jovite, Quebec on Tuesday. "It's all about trying to get off to a good start in this next game, make a push in the first period and go from there."

The Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round in 2014 and defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games in the second round before losing the Eastern Conference Final to the New York Rangers in six.

The Canadiens said they are not looking past the Senators, who went 21-3-3 through the end of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs.

"We have put the first three games behind us. Yes, we're happy about the results, but we're also aware that the more we move forward, the tougher it is to win and the intensity goes up a notch every game," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "The games were tight, it was war in the trenches every game, but [Wednesday] is going to be the same thing."

Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss the rest of the series because of an upper-body injury. Rookie defenseman Greg Pateryn will make his playoff debut Wednesday.

Ottawa coach Dave Cameron will insert center Zack Smith into the lineup in place of veteran David Legwand.

"The biggest thing is [Smith is] going to give us a little more speed," Cameron said. "That's the big thing that went into it."

Cameron did not tell reporters who will start Game 4 in goal. Craig Anderson made 47 saves in the Senators' 2-1 overtime loss Sunday after Andrew Hammond allowed seven goals in the first two games in Montreal.

Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur has scored twice, and each goal has given Ottawa a 1-0 lead in the past two games. Captain Erik Karlsson has an assist in each of the three games; right wing Bobby Ryan does not have a point in the series.

"That's what our team is," Cameron said. "We're a balanced hockey club. No disrespect to anybody on my team, but I don't know if we have a pure goal-scorer in that group, so you need contributions from everybody and we got it all year. That's the reason we got in the playoffs."

Ottawa successfully killed Montreal's six power-play opportunities Sunday, but Senators defenseman Cody Ceci is wary of putting too much pressure on a penalty-killing unit that gave up 11 shots on goal.

"We've been battling to stay out of the box," Ceci said. "We need to play a little more disciplined. They've have really strong power play and they get a lot of momentum from that. That's been the turning point in a couple of games. If we stay out of the box, we're a pretty even matchup."

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