Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick & Prediction JANUARY 18th 2024

The new year has not been kind to the Ottawa Senators.

However, they have been at their best of late when facing the Montreal Canadiens.

On Thursday night, the reeling Senators eye a seventh straight victory over the visiting Canadiens, who will try for a season-high third consecutive win.

Though Ottawa resides at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 30 points, it closed 2023 with three wins in four games. However, the Senators have yielded 35 goals while going 1-6-0 in 2024.

They snapped a five-game skid with a 5-4 home victory over the lowly San Jose Sharks on Saturday. On Tuesday, the Senators blew a 4-2, second-period lead by allowing visiting Colorado to score five straight goals, and the Avalanche emerged with a 7-4 win.

“We just need to find a way to just put in a 60-minute effort,” said Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk, who had three assists vs. Colorado.

It was the second time in four games that the Senators blew a second-period advantage. They led 3-2 at Calgary after two periods on Jan. 9, then yielded four unanswered goals for a 6-3 defeat.

“I definitely think part of it is mental,” Ottawa interim coach Jacques Martin said. “You know, you’ve got to build some resistance. You’ve got to build some mechanism that when you face adversity it brings the best out of you instead of folding.”

Perhaps a visit from Montreal, in this season’s first meeting between the eastern Canadian foes, will help the Senators get untracked and generate some positivity. Ottawa has outscored the Canadiens 30-15 during its six-game winning streak in the series.

Tkachuk has five points in the past two games overall, and he logged three goals and six assists in the past six contests vs. Montreal. Teammate Drake Batherson has scored in two consecutive contests, and he has recorded nine goals and 11 assists in 21 career games against the Canadiens.

With Ottawa goalie Anton Forsberg on injured reserve due to a groin injury, Joonas Korpisalo (3.70 goals-against average) could see even more time in net. Mads Sogaard was recalled from the AHL Belleville last week, and he stopped 27 of 33 shots against the Avalanche on Tuesday.

Though Montreal has struggled against Ottawa in recent years, Canadiens star Cole Caufield has three goals in his past four games in the series. On Wednesday, Caufield scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:31 to play in regulation, giving Montreal a 3-2 victory at New Jersey.

“(The team finds) a way to win,” Caufield said after his team rallied from blowing a 2-0 lead against the Devils. “I just like the way our group stuck together.”

It was a second straight victory for Montreal, which is 4-2-2 in the new year, with seven of those games decided by one goal. The Canadiens are also amid a 2-0-1 stretch on the road.

“We’re right there,” rookie Montreal defenseman Jayden Struble said. “We can play with anyone.”

Caufield has three goals and three assists in the past four games. He assisted on a Wednesday goal by Juraj Slafkovsky, who has scored in each of the past two contests.

Montreal’s Sam Montembeault (2.85 goals-against average) made 28 saves on Wednesday, so Jake Allen (3.49 GAA) or Cayden Primeau (3.13 GAA) could get the start in the back-to-back scenario for the Canadiens.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping