The Ottawa Senators opened its six-game road trip with a narrow 3-1 defeat in Montreal Tuesday night.
Artem Zub scored for the Senators while Joey Daccord made 30 saves in his first start of the season. Montreal's Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Petry and Tyler Toffoli had goals while Carey Price turned away 26 shots.
"I thought we played probably 55 minutes of great hockey," Sens head coach D.J. Smith said. "We had a five minute breakdown where we lost focus, took a few penalties and it ended up in our net."
After a goalless first, in which Sens forward Drake Batherson hit the post, it was Montreal who would strike first with two quick goals in the second, both of which came on the power play.
Gallagher opened the scoring at 9:26 and in the process drew a high-sticking penalty on Erik Gudbranson that resulted in a four-minute power play.
Petry would double the lead at 11:30 on a pinpoint slap shot as he buried his seventh of the season to make it 2-0.
"Stick penalties are tough," Smith said. "No one means to do it. It's unfortunate it happened."
Zub would score his second of the season as the ice opened up in front of him in the slot after Tim Stützle collided with Joel Armia and the Russian defenceman picked his spot past Price stick-side with 1:31 left in the second.
Austin Watson dinged the post in the third period but the Sens couldn't find the tying goal before Toffoli scored an empty-netter with 20.9 seconds to play.
Batherson's scoring streak was snapped at six games but he did extend his point streak to seven with an assist on Zub's goal.
Daccord made just the second NHL start of his career and just his third NHL appearance after he played the final 20 minutes in Thursday's loss to Calgary. His first NHL start came in April 2019.
"It's unfortunate we came out on the short end of things," Daccord said. "One more save from me and we're right there. I thought it was a great effort from the guys and it's unfortunate we couldn't pull through."
The Sens are back in action Thursday when they visit Calgary for the first of two games.