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Canadiens push for 3-0 lead as series shifts to Ottawa

by Sean Farrell /



Montreal leads best-of-seven series 2-0

The Montreal Canadiens expect to face a tough battle in a hostile environment when they play the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday with an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series.

After winning two one-goal games at Bell Centre, the Canadiens will try to put the Senators in a deep hole with a win in Game 3 despite losing both regular-season games in Ottawa.

"Our job is to go take a couple or one out there," Montreal right wing Devante Smith-Pelly said Saturday after practice at the Canadiens' training facility in Brossard, Quebec. "There's no complacency out here just because we're up two. But we're definitely excited about the position we're in."

Montreal has lost eight of its past 10 games in Ottawa, including both road games in a five-game series loss to the Senators in an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This team that we're playing is used to being the underdog and they're going to feel a lot more comfortable now with the expectations against them I guess," Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty said. "They're going to go in their building and they know they can take two in their building. It's a tough place for us to play. I've always found it's very tough for our team to find success there so we have to try and build off last game and be even better."

The Senators feel far from hopeless despite losing the first two games of the series.

"We're confident," Ottawa center Kyle Turris said after practice Saturday. "We played them well during the season. There's a couple of things we need to work on the past couple of games. We talked about it and we'll be better [Sunday]."

Ottawa finished the regular season on a 21-3-3 run to qualify for the playoffs.

"We've done this all year long," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "We make it a little too hard on ourselves sometimes. That's the way it is. We're in the situation we're in. We haven't lost anything yet and they haven't won anything yet. All we can do is play the next game."

As close as the first two games have been, the Senators believe the series is far from over.

"We got a couple of tough breaks here and there," Senators defenseman Eric Gryba said. "We could have easily come out with a game out of there and it could have been a split series. We've got to win four games; doesn't matter when, doesn't matter how. The guys know that and they trust each other and trust the system."

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