Sens hope to force Game 7 vs. Habs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators will try to push their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series to the limit when they host the reeling Montreal Canadiens in Saturday's Game 6 from Canadian Tire Centre.
The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven set, but Ottawa has rallied for two straight wins over the Atlantic Division champions to get back in the series.
Montreal was routed by the Senators on Friday, losing 5-1 on home ice in the first game of this series to be decided by more than one goal.
Bobby Ryan scored his first two goals of the series in the Game 5 victory. The American winger hadn't scored since March 19 and he registered his first multi-goal game in the playoffs since he tallying twice for Anaheim against Nashville on April 15, 2011.
Patrick Wiercioch, Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra also scored for the Senators, who staved off elimination for a second game after posting a 1-0 home victory in Game 4. Mike Hoffman and Mika Zibanejad each had two assists.
Craig Anderson also came through with another tremendous performance between the pipes, making 45 saves in a game where his club was outshot by a wide margin.
"We weathered the storm and got the result we wanted," Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron said. "The pressure shifts a bit toward Montreal."
The Canadiens have only scored three goals since the beginning of Game 3 when Anderson replaced Andrew Hammond as the starter in the Ottawa net. Anderson has stopped 120-of-123 shots over the last three games to log a .95 goals against average and .976 save percentage in this series.
"Pressure is what you make of it and for me it's just focusing on the right things," said Anderson. "I just go out there and play."
This isn't the first time Montreal has struggled to score against Anderson in the playoffs. The veteran goalie anchored Ottawa's five-game series win over a heavily-favored Habs' team in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs. That marked the first playoff encounter between these teams until this season.
"We came out of the gate really hard and they took advantage of their opportunity," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said of Friday's loss. "Anderson was really good."
Tom Gilbert provided Montreal's lone marker in Game 5, scoring at 1:44 of the third period to make it a 3-1 game. The tally ended Anderson's shutout streak at 101 minutes, 44 seconds.
Vezina Trophy finalist Carey Price allowed all five goals on 25 shots in defeat. It was the most goals surrendered by the Canadiens star goaltender since he also allowed five scores against Ottawa on March 12.
Price, who also is expected to be a finalist for the Hart Trophy this season, had a few suggestions for his teammates on how to solve Anderson.
"We have to take away his eyes. That's what they do. That's why they have success," said Price. "If we put 50 pucks on net during a game, we should see a few go in. When you go up against a hot goaltender, the recipe isn't a complicated one. You have to create traffic in front of him and capitalize on rebounds. It's no secret to anybody."
Montreal is hoping to figure out Anderson tonight, but if it loses for a third straight time then it will host a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Only four teams have come back to win a series after facing a 0-3 deficit, but two of those occurrences have come in recent memory. The Los Angeles Kings did it last season in the opening round against San Jose, while the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off the remarkable comeback against the Boston Bruins in the second round of the 2010 playoffs.
Ottawa is only the third team to trail 3-0 to the Canadiens and force a Game 6, joining Buffalo which did so in the 1973 quarterfinals and Hartford in the 1988 Adams Division semifinals.
Senators forwards Clarke MacArthur and Jean-Gabriel Pageau left Friday's game with lower-body injuries and are questionable for tonight.
Habs forward P.A. Parenteau hasn't played since suffering an upper-body injury in Game 1 and is expected to sit out again tonight.