-- With five days of rest and a three-game winning streak on the line, the Montreal Canadiens
(4-5-2) are set to get back in action against the Ottawa Senators
(7-6-0) at Scotiabank Place. Whether the break served as a pro or a con will be determined Friday night.
The Senators, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped with a 5-3 loss Tuesday to Boston, are anxious to get back into the win column. Goaltender Craig Anderson
thinks the Habs will provide the right opportunity.
"Obviously they're rested; they haven't played in a while," Anderson said. "We want to be sure that we get off to a good start. Without playing, sometimes you get out of rhythm. Maybe we can capitalize on their lack of game time."
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Added Jason Spezza
: "I think sometimes you can take advantage of a team's rust. You don't play for a week, you can get a little antsy and get a little rusty."
Canadiens winger Mike Cammalleri
simply viewed the time off as a chance to regroup, despite the team's recent turnaround in fortunes.
"Rusty or chomping at the bit? Neither or," Cammalleri said. "I don't think it's that big a deal. You take what you're given and you use the days to heal up and work on things. We're definitely working on improving. We're not where we need to be just yet. We use those days for that, and the hope is you come and play a better game tonight than you have before."
Montreal coach Jacques Martin understands the need to maintain focus, regardless of the break.
"You have to control that. You have to be ready tonight for competition," Martin said. "(Ottawa) is a team that's playing well. This is a team that has a tremendous power play. It's important for us to get our intensity back up to a high level, and at the same time maintain focus on our defensive part of the game."
Defense will be key for the Habs on Friday, as they square off against the No. 1 power play in the League.
"They've got a great power play," defenseman P.K. Subban
said. "We understand we have to stay out of the box, but at the same token we know that things are going to happen, and if we are a man short, we have to make sure that we're doing the right things so they don't score -- that's being in the shooting lanes, having good sticks and making sure Carey (Price) can see the puck so we eliminate their second and third opportunities. It's the same thing every night. From night to night whether a team's got the best power play or the worst, they can open (the game up) if you're not doing the right things."