The Montreal Canadiens believe it’s only a matter of time when their power play will start clicking. It hasn’t hurt their chances of success on the road.
The Canadiens look to stretch their road winning streak to five Tuesday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Montreal (7-3-1) has one of the worst power plays in the NHL with three goals in 39 chances (7.7 percent). The Canadiens are 2 for 15 on the road, where they have won four straight since a season-opening 3-2 loss to Toronto on Oct. 7.
“Believe it or not, we really haven’t hit that level of frustration with our power-play that people might have expected,” left wing Michael Cammalleri(notes) said. “We’re doing a lot of things right and getting some great chances even though the stats might not suggest it right now.”
The Canadiens went 0 for 5 in Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Florida that snapped a four-game overall win streak. Tomas Plekanec(notes) had a three-game goal streak stopped, and fellow leading scorer Andrei Kostitsyn(notes) was held without a point for the second straight game.
Andrei Markov(notes) made his season debut after missing the Canadiens’ first 10 games while recovering from knee surgery. The Russian defenseman hadn’t played since injuring his knee in the first game of Montreal’s second-round playoff win over Pittsburgh.
“It’s not easy to come back from long-term and I was lost a little bit,” Markov said. “It was much different compared to practice - the intensity is very high - so the first period was a little tough but in the second and third I felt better.”
Montreal has not won five straight on the road since Dec. 31, 1997-Jan. 12, 1998.
The Canadiens won 5-3 at home in last season’s meeting with the Blue Jackets, and have two wins and a shootout loss in three matchups at Columbus (6-4-0). This is the 10th meeting between the clubs.
The Blue Jackets had their three-game win streak snapped with an ugly 5-1 loss at Colorado on Saturday. They were whistled for 10 penalties, five of them in the third period after the Avalanche scored three times in the second.
Struggling Steve Mason(notes) fell to 5-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average after he made 15 saves on 19 shots before he was pulled. Former Canadiens goaltender Mathieu Garon(notes) is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA in two starts this year, and 7-0-4 with a 1.99 GAA in 12 career home starts with Columbus.
Nash has gone five straight games without a goal, and has just five points in 10 games. He had six goals and nine assists at this point last season.
R.J. Umberger(notes) leads the Blue Jackets with four goals, but has only one in his last six games. Umberger will be joined by improving third-year left wing Nikita Filatov(notes) on the second line Tuesday.