After salvaging the finale of a difficult road trip, the Ottawa Senators are eager to rediscover the comforts of home.
A win Tuesday night would be their sixth in a row at Scotiabank Place, but the Senators will face a Montreal Canadiens team looking to win its third straight overall for the first time since October.
Ottawa’s five-game trip - matching its longest of the season - began with four consecutive losses. Now, though, the Senators (14-10-4) are hoping Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win at Anaheim will serve as a springboard as they play 10 of their next 15 at home.
“This is an end to the first chapter of the year. We’ve got this long road trip over with and now we are going back home,” goalie Brian Elliott(notes) said. “We are going to be playing a lot of games every other night now, so it’s going to be another big test. But getting a win (Sunday) was big for us.”
Winning at home has not been much of a problem for the Senators, who are 10-3-3 in Ottawa including five straight wins and a 6-0-1 record in the last month.
Elliott, who continues to fill in while starter Pascal Leclaire(notes) recovers from a fractured cheekbone, is 4-0-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average at home, as opposed to a 2-5-1 record and 3.61 GAA on the road. Ottawa’s offense has also been more productive at home, averaging 3.3 goals - nearly a goal more than its road average.
The team should also have confidence after beating Anaheim, with center Jason Spezza(notes) scoring his third goal of the season and adding an assist as he tries to regain his scoring touch. He combined to total 100 goals in the previous three seasons.
Each of the Senators’ three goals in regulation were answered by the Ducks less than a minute later, but Ottawa still won the game.
“I thought our guys showed a lot of resilience,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said. “All three times we scored, they scored the next shift. Sometimes that can be very deflating, but I liked our character.”
Offense may be harder to come by if the Canadiens (14-14-2) continue their recent defensive resurgence. After giving up 15 goals during a four-game losing streak, they’ve allowed one in each of their back-to-back victories.
They beat Boston 5-1 on Friday on the 100th anniversary of their founding, then earned a 3-1 win over Philadelphia on Monday despite putting just 13 shots on goal, as they held the Flyers to 15 shots.
“I think our last two games we’ve played our best defensive hockey of the year,” Price said.
The Canadiens haven’t won three straight since a four-game winning streak Oct. 20-26, but they’ll have a good chance if Mike Cammalleri can continue his recent surge. The left wing has scored four goals in the last two games, giving him 16 - twice as many as any teammate - in his first season with Montreal.
Cammalleri scored the Canadiens’ lone goal in a 3-1 home loss to Ottawa on Oct. 17, the Northeast Division rivals’ only previous meeting this season.
This will be Montreal coach Jacques Martin’s first visit to Ottawa with the Canadiens. Martin coached the Senators from 1996-2004, leading the team to its first eight playoff appearances and the 2002-03 Presidents’ Trophy.
He coached Florida from 2005-08, going 1-5-0 at Ottawa, with his Panthers teams getting outscored 27-11.