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Senators hope to put Canadiens on brink in Game 4

by Arpon Basu


(Ottawa leads best-of-7 series 2-1)


Big story: The fight-filled third period of Game 3 grabbed a lot of the attention, but the more significant development in the Ottawa Senators’ 6-1 win was that they imposed their will and dictated the pace and style of play for the first time in the series. If the Montreal Canadiens are unable to get back to their own style and stick to it, they may return home facing elimination.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: The Canadiens put on a confident face at practice Monday when speaking of the previous night’s blowout loss. The reason cited for that feeling of confidence by most of the players and coach Michel Therrien was the team’s ability to bounce back after bad losses this season.

“We’ve been a team that’s always bounced back when faced with adversity,” defenseman P.K. Subban said. “I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll bounce back [Tuesday].”

That’s partially true. The Canadiens had six losses in the regular season by three or more goals. Their record in the game after the first three of those losses was 3-0, but after the last three losses they went 0-3.

As for the physical dominance the Senators displayed Sunday, one way the Canadiens could counter it would be to have an effective power play. Montreal went 1-for-6 with the man advantage in Game 3 and did not look particularly effective.

“We need our power play to be a lot more of a threat than it was [in Game 3],” Therrien said. “We need to impose a tempo with our power play.”

Senators: The Senators’ power play had been shut out in the first two games, but with 11 opportunities Sunday it got lots of practice and converted three times to turn the game into a laugher.

It was Montreal’s willingness to play along with the Senators physical style that ultimately got Ottawa all those power-play chances, because eventually the Canadiens got frustrated and lost their composure in the third.

Chris Neil expects the physical play to return in Game 4, and if it does, perhaps Montreal’s lack of discipline will come with it.

“We were physical, but they were physical as well. We had 47 hits and they had 44,” Neil said. “It was a physical game from both sides and it will be the same thing [Tuesday].”

Who's hot: Sergei Gonchar may have been Ottawa’s best defenseman in Game 3, and he had two important assists on the game’s opening goal and the game-winner by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau is coming off a hat trick in Game 3. … Canadiens forward Rene Bourque has a point in each game of the series with two goals and an assist.

Injury report: The Canadiens are missing Lars Eller (concussion, facial fractures) and defenseman Alexei Emelin (knee). … The Senators are without defenseman Patrick Wiercioch (lower body), center Jason Spezza (back) and center Mike Hoffman (upper body).

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