OTTAWA - The Montreal Canadiens never expected their first round opponent to go down easily.
The Canadiens are feeling comfortable despite losing 1-0 to the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series. The win helped the Senators stave off elimination, although Montreal still leads the series 3-1 and hosts Game 5 Friday night.
"We'll take the good things out of this game, go back home and focus on Game 5," said Canadiens defenceman Tom Gilbert. "We get another chance to close out a series in front of our home crowd who create so much energy for us so we'll definitely use that to our advantage."
Mike Hoffman scored the lone goal at 9:05 of the third period, while Craig Anderson made 28 saves for his third career playoff shutout. Carey Price turned aside 32 shots for Montreal.
The Canadiens say the plan is to return home to the confines of the Bell Centre and do their best to finish off the Senators.
Allowing Ottawa to gain any kind of confidence could be dangerous considering how well the Sens has played when they're most desperate.
"(Ottawa) is a very good team and I think since Game 1 they've never lost hope," said Montreal's Max Pacioretty. "This is a team that's been fighting with their backs against the wall for two or three months and they never gave up hope so we don't expect them to give up now."
The Canadiens played well enough to win and had a number of solid scoring chances, but couldn't find a way to beat Anderson.
"I think we had opportunities to win, but we didn't make the right decision when we had the puck," said Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban.
The Canadiens power play left much to be desired yet again going 0 for 3 and is now 1-for-16 through four games.
"It's definitely a concern" said Pacioretty. "I think we've got to find ways to keep it simple and have a five-on-five mentality when we go out there. They're a very aggressive penalty kill and they come hard so we've got to try and spread them out and make them work hard and then try and tire them out."
Montreal coach Michel Therrien felt both teams played well and could have easily gone either way and says he sees no reason to dissect every small detail from this game.
Therrien says his team accomplished their goal of coming to Ottawa and splitting the two games.
"Of course when you win the first one you put yourself in the position that you want to win a second," he said. "But you have to look at the big picture and that's the fact we took a game in a tough building. We now return home with the energy of our fans behind us and we're excited for our next game."
Notes: Montreal defenceman Greg Patteryn left the game in the second period and did not return for the third. Therrien said that he's fine.