The Senators had their Northeast Division lead slip to six points with a 6-2 loss to the second-place Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Ottawa is tied with Carolina for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but has lost a season-high three in a row and is 2-4-2 in its last eight games.
Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist on Saturday and has five goals and four assists in six games against Montreal this season. Patrick Eaves also scored for the Senators, who allowed six or more goals for the fourth time this season.
“Everything caught up to us (Saturday),” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. “We were behind them all night.”
“I didn’t think I made any huge mistakes,” said Emery, who is 3-2 against Montreal this season with a 3.27 goals-against average. “When things aren’t going in your favor you’ve got to do anything you can to change that.”
The undermanned Senators continue to be without defensemen Wade Redden (personal reasons) and Chris Phillips (left knee sprain), forward Martin Havlat (shoulder) and goaltender Dominik Hasek (abducter muscle) while defenseman Zdeno Chara (hand) is day-to-day.
The Senators have lost three of their last four meetings with the Canadiens following a stretch where they went 9-2 against them.
Montreal beat Ottawa 5-3 in their last matchup on Thursday, which was the Canadiens’ eighth straight win, their longest streak in more than 11 years. The run ended one game later, however, with a 3-2 defeat to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Montreal trailed 3-0 midway through the third period before getting goals from Mike Ribeiro and Chris Higgins, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
“It’s a tough team to play when you’re down 3-0 or 2-0, and that’s when I think they’re at their best,” said Saku Koivu, who added an assist. “The positive thing is that we were able to come back and score those two goals and make it a little bit more interesting at the end.”
The Canadiens are trying to hold onto one of the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots. Montreal faces a challenging schedule, meeting Ottawa, Buffalo twice, Boston and New Jersey in its five remaining contests.