The Ottawa Senators ended 2005-06 with a disappointing defeat in the second round of the playoffs. Those struggles seem to have carried over to this season.
The Senators look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Ottawa (1-3-0) led the NHL with 314 goals last season, but on Thursday, was shut out for the second time this season in a 1-0 home loss to Calgary. The Senators were blanked five times all of last season.
Dany Heatley, coming off a 50-goal season, has yet to score.
“We’ve got some great offensive guys and we’re not putting the puck in the net right now, and we’re getting tons of chances,” said Ottawa center Jason Spezza, who leads the team with two goals. “It’s not like we’re not getting chances out there and that definitely makes you feel more frustrated.”
The Senators went 0-for-6 on the power play Thursday and have converted only one of their 25 opportunities with the advantage through four games.
Ray Emery, who replaced a struggling Martin Gerber, made 27 saves against the Flames and didn’t allow a goal until 11:25 into the final period, but Ottawa couldn’t score on 33 shots against Miikka Kiprusoff.
“It’s been a while since I got a start so I was excited to play,” Emery said. “I felt a bit rusty as far as some things were concerned … All in all I thought I played all right, it’s just the other guy played a bit better tonight.”
The Senators tied a franchise record with 52 victories last season, beating Tampa Bay in five games in the first round of the playoffs before losing in five to Buffalo in the second round—all by one goal.
Montreal will be playing its home opener after going 2-0-1 in its first three games of the season. The Canadiens earned their second straight win Wednesday as Michael Ryder, Alexei Kovalev and Christopher Higgins each scored in a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia.
“We’ve played really well all three games,” said David Aebischer, who made 27 saves in starting his second straight contest. “There’s always a period of adjustment in a couple of areas, but I thought we’ve worked really hard and that’s the key.”
Kovalev’s goal was his first of the season after he registered 23 in 69 games last season. Kovalev has been trying to get used to playing on a line with Sergei Samsonov, who signed with the Canadiens as a free agent after helping lead Edmonton to the Stanley Cup last season.
Samsonov, who had 23 goals and 53 points for Boston and the Oilers last season, recorded an assist on Kovalev’s goal Wednesday for his first point with the Canadiens.
Montreal went 4-3-1 against Ottawa last season, including a 3-1-0 mark at home.