The Canadiens, who outworked and outplayed the Senators in Game 2, found themselves on the end of physical and offensive aggression, in a 6-1 loss at Scotiabank Place.
With the loss, Montreal trails 2-1 in this best-of-7 series and must recover before Game 4 on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).
"We're going to regroup; we're going to bounce back," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "We've done it all season long."
Emotions boiled over in Game 3, with a whopping 236 penalty minutes taken between the clubs. Hits were nearly even – Ottawa had 47 to Montreal's 44 -- but it was the final score that struck home, with Ottawa's power-play finally catching fire with two goals, and a hat trick for hometown hero Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Senators fans took advantage of every opportunity, even adapting the Canadiens' traditional "Ole" celebration song to "Pageau." The Montreal team, crestfallen after the drubbing, insisted that it had no time to lick its wounds.
"Whether you 6, 5-1 or 3-1, a loss is a loss," Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said. "They all stink. It's about we react. It stinks right now; it always does. We've got to pick ourselves back up and be ready to play.
"We have to get back to playing our game. We have to stop focusing on what [Ottawa] is going to do. We got to get back to being a team that's hard and fast on pucks. We play a direct game on the attack and put pucks into the offensive zone. And when we do those sorts of things, we create some success and we're a pretty good team. When we get away from that, and we start forcing things by making plays that aren't there, then things like tonight happen."
Montreal captain Brian Gionta insisted that the club would handle this loss the same as any other.
"You reset," Gionta said. "It's no different than any other loss. We lost the game; we're down in the series. We've got to find a way to get back. We need to regroup and look at some of the things that got away from us. At the same time, it's a 6-1 game. You look at that, but you also remember how we fell apart at the end [emotionally]."
"We want to win every game, and we know you need four wins to move on," winger Max Pacioretty said. "Every loss is so deflating. We've got to find a way to just bounce back. Good teams are able to overcome adversity in the playoffs. In that third period, it doesn't get any worse for us. We got embarrassed. It's time for everyone to look in the mirror and say, 'We've got to be better.' We'll do that from puck drop on in the next game."