Canadiens need power play production vs Senators

Mike Hoffman scored his first of the playoffs to help keep the Ottawa Senators alive in their best-of-seven series with the Montreal Canadiens.

BROSSARD, Que. — Michel Therrien knows that the Montreal Canadiens’ power play hasn’t been effective so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After finished 23rd in the league with the man advantage in the regular season, Montreal went 0-for-3 in Game 4 and is 1-for-16 in its first-round series against the Ottawa Senators.

“Right now, our execution is not quite as sharp as we’re looking for [it to be] and we have to make sure we take the right decisions with the puck,” Canadiens head coach Therrien said. “We gotta make sure we have net-presence; we gotta make sure we take the right shot at the right time.”

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Ottawa has done an effective job at shutting down whatever momentum the Canadiens have attempted to generate on the power play. Andrew Hammond and Craig Anderson have also been solid in net.

“It’s super-aggressive,” said Montreal forward Devante Smith-Pelly of the Senators penalty kill. “You don’t have a lot of time to set up and make plays.

“Maybe if we get some shots and get them running around, they’ll start being a little more passive.”

Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Sergei Gonchar are offensive players Therrien could turn to, but the coach hinted at not making any lineup adjustments in Game 5 Friday night.

Special teams wasn’t the only problem for the Canadiens in their Game 4 loss in Ottawa. Montreal struggled to beat Anderson, who made 28 saves for the shutout.

“I think in the third (period), we maybe took (our feet) off the gas a little bit,” said Smith-Pelly. “It was obviously the most important period, so it’s obviously something we’d like to shore up.”

Therrien and the Canadiens would like to close out the series at home Friday, but aren’t taking things for granted.

“We’re expecting that you’re going to have to fight for every inch out there,” said Therrien of the Canadiens’ next opportunity to move onto the second round. “It’s really demanding. It’s really tough physically and guys gotta battle hard.”

Notes: The Canadiens held an optional practice on Thursday, cycling through 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 drills…. The only players who played in Game 4 participating in practice were: Brian Flynn, Alex Galchenyuk, Smith-Pelly, Jacob De La Rose, Brandon Prust and Greg Pateryn…. Pateryn had stitches over his left eye from his collision with Ottawa forward Erik Condra in the early part of the third period of Game 4. Though he didn’t finish the game, he’s expected to play in Game 5…. Max Pacoretty and Carey Price both came out in tracksuits to shoot pucks before practice.

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