Montreal shook off back-to-back losses with its strongest power-play performance of the season.
For the Canadiens, things just seem to click on the road.
Montreal can move within one game of its longest road winning streak in nearly 33 years when the Canadiens head to Ottawa on Thursday night to face the struggling Senators.
The Canadiens (27-12-3) entered Wednesday’s game in Columbus owning the second-worst power-play unit in the league with 16 goals in 117 chances this season. However, they scored three times on the man advantage in a span of 3:53 in the third period and rallied for an unlikely 3-2 victory.
"Our power play was a big topic this week," said Max Pacioretty, who scored two of the three tallies and has seven in seven games. "We were talking about it in the media and in the room. We knew we had to get a bounce to get some momentum, and that’s what happened. Now the big thing is keeping it going."
The win was the sixth straight on the road for the Canadiens, who haven’t won seven in a row there since an eight-game run from Jan. 21-Feb. 21, 1982.
Five of those six victories have come in front of Carey Price, who allowed two or fewer goals in each of those wins and owns a 2.19 goals-against average this season. He has started in back-to-back days twice already this season, but should he sit, Dustin Tokarski would make only his second start since Nov. 29.
Montreal had earned points in eight of nine games and 11 of 13 (10-2-1) and is one point behind Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead with three games in hand.
Ottawa (17-17-8) enters this matchup in lesser spirits following a disheartening 5-4 loss in Dallas on Tuesday. The Senators scored two goals on their first five shots to chase Dallas starter Keri Lehtonen, but they surrendered four second-period goals en route to their fourth loss in five games.
"Boys played fine. They played good. I didn’t," Senators goalie Robin Lehner said. "Difference in the game."
Lehner owns a 3.16 GAA this season and will likely return to the bench Thursday in favor of Craig Anderson, who stopped 31 of 32 shots Saturday against Arizona in a 5-1 win.
The Senators have lost seven of their last 10 games, the first of which came in their first meeting with Montreal this season, a 4-1 defeat on Dec. 20. The Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to claim their fourth consecutive victory in the series.
Beginning with that loss, the Senators have been very susceptible on the penalty kill, allowing power-play goals in eight of the 10 contests. With the recent play of Montreal’s special teams – coupled with the play of Pacioretty – the Canadiens could send Ottawa spiraling further into that trend Thursday.
"The line of Pacioretty, (Tomas) Plekanec and (Brendan) Gallagher was a constant threat all game long," coach Michel Therrien said to Montreal’s official site. "We’ve made some changes and we think those are the best possible decisions."
Pacioretty reached the 20-goal plateau for the third time with his multi-goal performance against Columbus. He netted the fourth hat trick of his career in Montreal’s final meeting with Ottawa last season, a 7-4 victory on April 4.
Pacioretty has four goals and nine points in his last four matchups with the Senators.