Ottawa had won six in a row before dropping a 5-3 decision against Boston on Tuesday at TD Garden. Nick Foligno, Stephane Da Costa and Jared Cowen each recorded goals in Ottawa's first loss since October 18, while goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 36 of the 41 shots he faced.
"I think the Stanley Cup champions showed up and they decided they wanted to play. They were determined to win, and the solutions that we had for them weren't working," Sens coach Paul MacLean said. "They were quicker than us. They were on the puck better than we were. They made us play in our end way, way too much. When those things happen, bad things happen."
Now the Senators will return to Canada's capital for a three-game homestand versus the Canadiens, Sabres and Rangers. Ottawa has won four in a row at home and sports a 5-2-0 record as the host this season.
On the injury front for the Senators, captain and forward Daniel Alfredsson is currently out with a concussion and goalie Alex Auld (undisclosed), defenseman Matt Carkner (knee) and forward Peter Regin (shoulder) are expected to miss Friday's game.
Montreal enters this division matchup riding a season-best three-game winning streak and will play two straight and four of their next five games away from home.
The well-rested Canadiens swept a home-and-home series with the defending champion Bruins with a 4-2 triumph on Saturday. Carey Price made 26 saves in the crease and Brian Gionta, Lars Eller and David Desharnais staked the Habs to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. Tomas Plekanec added an empty-net goal for Montreal, which has won three in a row since a six-game losing streak gave them their worst start in 70 years.
"We just got back to playing the way we're supposed to play," Price said.
The Canadiens have scored 11 goals during their winning streak and may not have forwards Scott Gomez (upper body) and Ryan White (sports hernia) for tonight's game. Defensemen Chris Campoli (leg) and Andrei Markov (knee) are also banged up for the Habs.
After visiting the Senators, Montreal will face the Rangers on the road before returning home to take on Edmonton. Road games against the Coyotes and Predators will follow that matchup at the Bell Centre.
Desharnais and Plekanec are both riding three-game point streaks and Price has a .950 save percentage over his last three games. Price has given up just four goals during the three-game winning streak.
Montreal and Ottawa are meeting for the first time this season after the Canadiens went 4-1-1 against their division rivals a season ago. Montreal has won seven of its last 10 games at Ottawa.