(SportsNetwork.com) - After a pair of close victories on home ice to begin the series, the Montreal Canadiens will try to take a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when they visit the Ottawa Senators for Game 3 on Sunday night.
Montreal won Game 1 at the Bell Centre by a 4-3 count and then grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with Friday's 3-2 overtime victory. Ottawa tied the game late in regulation, but the Habs recovered for the win thanks to Alex Galchenyuk's game-winner less than four minutes into the extra session.
The Senators hope playing in front of the home fans at Canadian Tire Centre can help them get back in the series. Ottawa was 23-13-5 as the host in 2014-15 and won seven of its last nine in Canada's capital city to end the regular season.
"The reality is we're down two. We have to find a way to win a game," Senators head coach Dave Cameron said.
It appears Cameron isn't going to rely on home ice alone to get back in this series as the coach is expected to go with Craig Anderson in net over Andrew Hammond for Game 3.
Hammond went 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals against average in 2014-15 after making his first NHL start in February. However, after carrying Ottawa to a wild card spot in the East the 27-year-old has struggled in his first playoff series, sporting a 3.44 goals against average through two games. Friday's OT winner off the stick of Galchenyuk is one of several stoppable pucks that Hammond couldn't keep from going in the net.
Anderson last played on March 29, but the veteran netminder's last win was back on March 8 against Calgary. He is 10-12 with a 2.60 GAA and .926 save percentage in 23 career playoff games.
Friday's game-winner was scored when Tomas Plekanec picked off a bad clear at the top of the left circle and dished it down low for Brendan Gallagher, who got a shot on net from a sharp angle that Hammond turned aside. The rebound, though, came to the right circle where Galchenyuk fired a turnaround shot that Hammond got a piece of before it found the back of the net.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Galchenyuk said. "We wanted to win this one bad. We're happy we got the win."
Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban scored in regulation for the Habs, while Carey Price made 29 saves for the Atlantic Division champion Canadiens. Pacioretty returned to play after missing the final two games of the regular season and Game 1 of this series with an upper-body injury
Clarke MacArthur and Patrick Wiercioch scored and Hammond finished the game with 39 saves for the Senators. Wiercioch scored with 6:35 left in the third period to knot the score at 2-2.
Ottawa's Mark Stone posted two assists in the loss. He had been a game-time decision for Ottawa after suffering a microfracture in his right wrist off a slash from Subban in Game 1.
P.A. Parenteau missed Game 2 for the Habs after suffering an upper-body injury in the series opener. The forward is questionable for tonight's game.
This marks the second playoff meeting between the Habs and Sens. Ottawa won the previous postseason encounter in quick fashion, taking the 2013 conference quarterfinals matchup in five games. Montreal was a heavily-favored No. 2 seed heading into that series before getting knocked off by the seventh-seeded Senators.
Following tonight's contest, the clubs will get an extra day of rest before meeting on Wednesday for Game 4 in Ottawa.