Senators try to start win streak against Canadiens

( - The Ottawa Senators picked up their first victory in weeks in their last trip to the ice.

Now, Paul MacLean's club will try to post consecutive wins for only the second time this season when they welcome the sliding Montreal Canadiens for Thursday's Atlantic Division clash at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators notched a 4-1 win Tuesday at Columbus, ending a five-game skid with their first victory since a 6-1 rout at Detroit on Oct. 23. The triumph over the Blue Jackets also gives Ottawa points in three straight games after it opened November with consecutive shootout losses versus the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars.

Robin Lehner made 32 saves to earn his first win of the season, helping the Sens defeat Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Erik Karlsson opened and closed the scoring for Ottawa, while Clarke MacArthur and Chris Neil had the other Senators goals.

"As a team and as a group, I thought we played a real solid 60 minutes," said MacLean.

With regular No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson expected to sit out a second straight game with a head/neck injury, Lehner should get another start on Thursday.

Ottawa is kicking off a five-game homestand on Thursday, and although the club is just 1-3-2 as the host this season, the Sens have won their past three home tilts against the Canadiens. The Atlantic Division rivals have split the last eight overall in the regular-season series.

This is the first of five scheduled meetings between the Habs and Sens this season. Thursday's tilt also marks the first encounter between the teams since Ottawa eliminated Montreal in five games during last spring's Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Montreal enters Thursday on a three-game slide, the club's longest skid of the season. However, after dropping two straight road games in regulation, the Habs were at least able to earn a point in Tuesday's home shootout loss against St. Louis.

Former Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped a penalty shot with 48.9 seconds left in regulation and made three saves in the shootout to lead the Blues to a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre. Halak deflected Tomas Plekanec's penalty shot with his right arm after David Backes was whistled for dislodging the St. Louis net late in the third period.

Later, T.J. Oshie flipped the puck into the top right corner of the net to beat Montreal goalie Carey Price for the only successful shootout try by either team. Halak stopped Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, and Max Pacioretty sent a shot wide on Montreal's last chance.

Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival scored for the Canadiens, while Price had 30 saves in defeat.

"It wasn't what we wanted but we earned a point," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. "No doubt they're a good offensive team with lots of speed."

Price has excellent career numbers against the Senators and will get the start in net tonight. He is 14-5-3 with a 2.11 goals against average in 24 career outings versus Ottawa.