Senators battling through early-season adversity (Oct 30, 2017)

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators are proud of the way they have handled adversity through the first month of the season.

Despite injuries to top players such as defenseman Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan and Zack Smith, the Senators (5-1-5) have points in 10 of 11 games so far this month.

They will try to make it 11 of 12 when they host the Montreal Canadiens (3-7-1) on Monday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

“When you look at the overall picture, there’s so many things that could have gone wrong for us,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said after practice Sunday. “Right now, we’re ahead of Toronto. People don’t put us in the playoffs, but now we’re right up there with two favored teams, Tampa and Toronto. We’ve got the same number of points as Pittsburgh, the Stanley Cup champions.

“With everything that’s been happening to us, it’s pretty impressive what the guys have been able to do.”

Boucher also pointed out the Senators are either at or near the top of a few statistical categories.

“In 20 years (of coaching), I’ve had some teams that have broken records, but I’ve never had a team that had (at least) a point in 10 of its first 11 games,” he said. “I don’t want to sit on it or get cocky, but I have to be honest, it’s a tribute to the leadership, the character, and the collective soul of our team. I’d love to say we’re surviving, but we’ve done more than survive.”

Turris, who missed the past two games with a viral infection, practiced on Sunday in a non-contact jersey. Boucher said Turris is doubtful for the Monday game.

The Ottawa coach also added that Craig Anderson would start in goal. Carey Price is expected to get the call in net for the Canadiens.

Montreal, in the first period of its Saturday game against the New York Rangers, outshot the visitors 19-2 and outscored them 3-0, then hung on for a 5-4 victory.

It was the Canadiens’ second win in three home games last week.

“In the second period, we talked about having some good shifts and keeping momentum going, but it didn’t happen and that’s on us,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien told the Montreal Gazette. “We’ve gone through a lot, but tonight we found a way to win, and that’s a positive.

“But I’m not going to tell you everything is good. We still have some situations where we’re fragile.”

The Canadiens were led by center Phillip Danault, who had two goals and two assists and is gelling with wingers Max Pacioretty and Andrew Shaw. The trio combined for seven points against the Rangers.

“We like the way we’re playing as a line,” Pacioretty, who has scored in two of the past three games, told the Gazette. “It started in the second period in Anaheim, and we’ve never looked back. We have good chemistry off the ice, and that always helps.”

No lineup changes are expected by the Canadiens on Monday.

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