Sens try to rebound against Habs

The Ottawa Senators know that if they want to win the Northeast Division, they can't give away points like they did in their last trip to the ice.

The Sens will try to rebound this evening against the Eastern Conference's last-place team as they open up a home-and-home set tonight with the hosting Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators blew three leads on Saturday against the visiting Sabres, getting a short-handed goal from Erik Condra in the first period and two more tallies from defenseman Erik Karlsson before dropping a 4-3 decision in a shootout.

Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean still praised the flow of the game despite his team missing out on a second point.

"A heck of a game," said MacLean. "It went up and down the ice. Good goaltending, good defensive plays at both ends. All-in-all it was very entertaining."

Ben Bishop made 38 saves for the Senators, who had a two-game win streak halted. Ottawa remains without No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson due to a lacerated right pinky finger.

Even without Anderson, the Senators are just two points behind the Bruins for the top spot in the division. They are seventh overall in the East three points ahead of the Capitals and four back of the sixth-place Devils.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, sit last in the East with 65 points and were denied a third straight victory on Monday when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Sabres. Erik Cole and David Desharnais both had a goal and an assist, with Desharnais forcing overtime on a goal with just five seconds left in regulation, but backup Peter Budaj yielded the winner on a wrister by Buffalo's Tyler Myers at 2:01 of overtime.

Budaj ended with 33 saves for the Canadiens, who have lost eight of their past 11.

"To see us compete at the end like that and not give up says a lot about the guys on the ice," Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "You obviously want that big goal at the end, that extra reward, but we didn't get it."

The Canadiens, who will visit the Senators on Friday to cap this home-and-home series, took their first two meetings with the Sens this season -- both in Ottawa -- by an 8-3 margin before the playoff hopefuls countered with a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal on Jan. 14.

Daniel Alfredsson had the winner in the third round of the shootout, beating Montreal starting goaltender Carey Price.

The Habs are still 6-1-2 in their past nine encounters with the Sens overall.