(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to pick up a third straight win and extend their point streak to seven games when they visit the Ottawa Senators for Wednesday's clash at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Canadiens have posted two wins in a row and haven't suffered a regulation loss in six straight outings, going 5-0-1 during the point streak.
Montreal also has won 10 of its last 13 tilts and is sitting atop the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with 78 points, two more than second-place Tampa Bay, which has played three more games than the Habs.
Michel Therrien's club beat another one of its competitors for the Atlantic crown the last time out, notching a 2-0 win in Detroit on Monday. The victory gave the Canadiens a six-point cushion over the third-place Red Wings.
Tomas Plekanec scored with 2:30 remaining in regulation to give the Habs a 1-0 lead over the Wings and Max Pacioretty added an empty-net goal in the final seconds.
Plekanec beat Howard with a slap shot from the high slot for his 17th goal of the year. Pacioretty's tally was his team-leading 26th marker.
Carey Price, meanwhile, held down the fort by stopping all 25 shots for his fifth shutout of the season. It was Price's 30th career shutout, moving him past Hall of Famer Patrick Roy for fifth place on the club's all-time list.
"Carey's performances and calm demeanor have given us all confidence this season," said Therrien. "The guys know he can get the job done and that reflects on the ice."
With Montreal also scheduled to play tomorrow against Florida, Price is expected to get a rest from backup Dustin Tokarski tonight. The Habs will then use their No. 1 goaltender in Thursday's home test versus the Panthers.
Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar missed Monday's game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for tonight.
Ottawa, which is 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East, is expected to go with Andrew Hammond in net tonight. Hammond has seen in action in two NHL games, but this would be his first career start.
The Senators are without their top two goaltending options as both Craig Anderson (bruised hand) and Robin Lehner (undisclosed) are on the shelf. Anderson last played on Jan. 21, while Lehner was injured in a collision with forward Clarke MacArthur in Monday's 6-3 home loss against Carolina.
Andrej Nestrasil had a goal and two assists to power the Hurricanes in the lopsided win. Lehner gave up four goals on 31 shots before exiting the game near the end of the second period. Hammond surrendered two goals on five shots in relief.
"It was a tough situation," Hammond said of coming on in relief. "It's not a great indication of my abilities."
MacArthur also will miss tonight's game with an undisclosed injury.
Erik Condra, Mike Hoffman and Cody Ceci scored in the loss, which halted Ottawa's point streak at three games (2-0-1).
The Senators are playing the fourth part of a five-game homestand tonight and own a 12-10-5 record as the host.
Ottawa snapped a four-game skid in the series with the Habs thanks to a 4-1 home win on Jan. 15. The Sens are 5-1-1 in their past seven meetings with Montreal at Canadian Tire Centre.