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Canadiens using two-day break to their advantage

by Sean Farrell /

The Montreal Canadiens are resting, relaxing and reloading to deliver what they hope will be a final knockout blow against the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Canadiens headed north of Ottawa to the resort destination of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, after taking a 3-0 lead Sunday with a 2-1 overtime win against the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

Montreal won the first two games at Bell Centre and will look to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a four-game sweep for a second year in a row with a win in Ottawa in Game 4.

Center Torrey Mitchell was making the most of the Canadiens' day off Monday.

"Yeah, it is really good, especially all three games have been pretty physical and rest is a weapon right now," said Mitchell, who scored Montreal's first goal in a 4-3 win in Game 1 and assisted on each of right wing Dale Weise's goals Sunday.

Mitchell and the Canadiens will practice at the arena in nearby Ste-Jovite, Quebec, on Tuesday before returning to Ottawa.

Center Lars Eller said that the important thing about dealing with the two-day break between Games 3 and 4 in Ottawa was to accept the schedule and embrace the positive side of it.

"You welcome rest whenever you can get it," Eller said. "It's going to be the same for both teams. Personally, I think it's good for us. I like it."

Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry is enjoying his first taste of the playoffs. Petry, who was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on March 2, forced Senators goalie Craig Anderson to make a tough glove save on his slap shot from the right point on a power play 7:58 into overtime Sunday.

"The two games at home were great and then going into that building, we knew they were going to come out hard and it was a physical game from start to finish," said Petry, who had six of his nine shots on goal in Game 1.

Montreal has allowed the first goal and trailed the Senators 1-0 at the end of the first period in all three games.

"Back in their building, down 2-0, we knew they were going to come hard, so we just wanted to make sure that we did the exact same thing right back to them, and they came hard at us in the first period," Canadiens left wing Brandon Prust said. "I thought we did a great job. It definitely wasn't our best period but we came out hard in the second, we came out hard in the third, we didn't quit. We just kept coming and battling, so that's the character of this team."

Unlike the first two games, Ottawa held onto its one-goal lead through the second despite being outshot 19-6 in the period, but Weise began the Canadiens' third straight come-from-behind win Sunday with his first goal of the game with 5:47 remaining in the third.

"I think even though we didn't have a very good first period there was no sense of panic," Eller said. "We were confident in ourselves, stuck to the game plan, we just kept going at it, shift by shift. We didn't change anything. Nobody tried to win the game on their own and do too much or stuff like that, we just kept going at it as a team the whole way through, and sure enough we got our breaks at the end and obviously (Weise) was the hero (Sunday)."

Prust is well aware that the Canadiens have as many as four straight opportunities to end the Senators' storybook season, but he has no intention of passing up the first one Wednesday, and he certainly is not giving any consideration to a possible second-round matchup against either the Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning, who the Canadiens swept in four games last year.

"Well we want to finish them because we want to finish them, you don't want to give them any life," Prust said. "Obviously the break is good and important, but we're not thinking about the next round. We're thinking about, 'we want to finish them,' we don't want to give them any life and we'll just stick with our game plan, stay patient, and the next game is just as important."

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