Senators need to shake out of doldrums vs. Habs

Senators forward Chris Neil challenges Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill for real estate in front of...

Senators forward Chris Neil challenges Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill for real estate in front of the net at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Dec. 27, 2011. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 PM ET

MONTREAL - Believe it or not, this is a big test for the Senators.

Closing out their three-game road trip Saturday against the Habs at the Bell Centre, the Senators have lost both games vs. Montreal this season and they’ve been outscored 8-3 — including a 6-2 loss at home Dec. 27.

While Ottawa is 7-0-1 in its past eight games, nobody on the Senators thinks they can mail it in vs. the Habs.

“We don’t have to guard against (taking them lightly),” captain Daniel Alfredsson said following a 25-minute skate Friday. “The only reason I say that is because we’ve played well for too long to say that (about them).

“I’m not saying we’re not going to go on losing streaks, but for us to get (taking anyone lightly), I can’t see it (happening). Our work ethic has been really good. We know every night, and every team in the league (knows this), if you don’t go out and play hard, you’re not going to have a good chance of winning.

“We respect every team we play. We’re not going to take anything for granted. That’s why it feels so good to be winning — because we’re earning it.”

While the Habs are in disarray, Montreal is a tough place to play for the Senators. Habs coach Randy Cunneyworth said Friday that No. 1 goalie Carey Price will make the start vs. Ottawa.

“We’ve had trouble with them this year. We need to find a way to get some wins against these guys and really play a little bit better,” said Senators winger Nick Foligno. “We have to come out with a really strong effort. We’re not overlooking this game. It’s really important for us. We know it’s going to be a big battle. They’re a hungry team. It’s going to be a good game. We’re expecting the best from them.”

Senators coach Paul MacLean said the Habs have put up a good fight both times they’ve played and he’s not expecting anything different.

“They’ve played really well against us,” MacLean said when asked about Ottawa’s 0-2 record vs. the Habs this season. “The game right after Christmas, we had some turnovers, and that’s what they’ve done to us. Carey Price has played really well. Defensively, they’ve done a good job. They’re going to be a test for us.”

NOT HAPPY

Senators C Jason Spezza wasn’t pleased after getting kneed by Rangers LW Ruslan Fedotenko in the first period of Thursday’s game. “I thought it was dirty. He said he didn’t think it was dirty. (The officials) didn’t think it was dirty,” said Spezza. “He thought I was trying to hit him, I guess. I don’t really understand the logic there because I had the puck. I was kind of yapping with him about it and he just thought I made a move at the last minute and he did nothing wrong. He didn’t try to get out of the way, that’s for sure.”


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