Final - OT
  for this game

Senators eye first place in clash with Canadiens

Mar 16, 2012 - 2:51 PM
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators have a chance to grab first place in the Northeast Division tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens in the finale of a home-and-home series at Scotiabank Place.

Despite losing their last two games in shootouts, the Senators enter today's action just one point behind the struggling Boston Bruins, who are idle today. Ottawa is also seeded seventh in the East standings, where it is four points in front of Washington and five in back of New Jersey.

Ottawa had won two straight before dropping a shootout decision Saturday against visiting Buffalo and the Sens were then dealt a 3-2 setback by the Canadiens in Wednesday's opener of this home-and-home set. David Desharnais scored the only goal of the shootout as the hosting Habs claimed the victory at the Bell Centre.

In the second round, Desharnais snuck a low backhand between the pads of Ben Bishop. Carey Price then made stops on Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson for the win.

Desharnais and Erik Cole scored in regulation for the Canadiens, who have won three of four, but are still 11 points out of a playoff spot in the East. Price stopped 35 shots for Montreal through regulation and overtime.

"It was a real good group effort tonight," said Cole. "Their team has been playing real well and they're a tough team to play against. Our guys did a great job in managing the puck smartly."

Colin Greening and Erik Karlsson both had goals for the Senators, while Bishop finished the game with 24 stops.

"It was a solid road game, both teams played things close to the vest," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean. "For some reason, this team doesn't bring out the best in us for some reason. Whatever it is, we have to find the solution."

With No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson still out with a cut on his right hand, Bishop has started the last four games for Ottawa and he could get the call again tonight. Anderson has been practicing but is not expected to return until next week.

For Montreal, forward Scott Gomez will miss a second straight game with a concussion, while defenseman Tomas Kaberle could be back tonight after sitting out Wednesday's test due to personal reasons.

Montreal has taken three of four meetings with the Sens this season and the Canadiens have won seven of 10 in this series overall. The Habs have also claimed two straight and four of their last five trips to Canada's capital city.

Ottawa is 18-13-4 as the host this year, while the Canadiens are 15-17-3 on the road.