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Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators celebrates his game-winning third-period goal against the Montreal Canadiens with teammates during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 22, 2015 in Ottawa.

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

First things first: the Montreal Canadiens have never lost a playoff series when up 3-0 in games (they're 32-for-32) and have won four of the five games where they've had to eliminate an opponent at the Bell Centre.

The odds of advancing to the second round of the playoffs remain firmly in their favour.

No one said it would be easy, however.

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That each of the first four games of their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators has been decided by one goal indicates how hard-fought the matchup has been; goaltenders Craig Anderson and Carey Price have taken centre stage in the past two games.

Though Anderson's body of work in seven playoff starts against the Habs is eloquent (he's 5-2 with a .957 save percentage), his return to top form isn't fazing Montreal's scorers.

"We've played a lot of games against good goalies this year, and we've found ways to score goals," said Max Pacioretty, who led the team in scoring during the regular season but has only one point to show from four playoff starts.

Pacioretty, who returned from what's believed to be a concussion in game two, said he's feeling great physically but that "it's a little hard to jump right into the playoffs" in terms of timing.

"I feel like my chances are going to come, I just need to stay patient," he said.

Though the Sens have blanketed Pacioretty's line and the Habs' second unit, it will be harder to create favourable defensive match-ups with Montreal having last change.

That the Habs are playing in a building where they won 26 lost only nine games all year in regulation (tied for second-best in the NHL) only increases the comfort level.

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"It's pretty simple tonight, we've got to play our best game of the series," said coach Michel Therrien. "We'll be prepared, there's no doubt about that."

Therrien will go with the same lineup that lost 1-0 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Senators coach Dave Cameron will replace veteran Chris Neil with Montreal-area native Alex Chiasson on Ottawa's fourth line.

Cameron, who was evidently in a jovial mood (he opened his pregame news conference with a reference to the controversy surrounding Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price's recent tirade, saying "Are we in a rush today? I'm going to start with 78 f-bombs and break the record") said "the pressure is on Montreal".

There's certainly an element of truth to that, but only one team's season can end after game five.

At least the Sens will have noted Habs-killer Daniel Alfredsson on hand to offer moral support. The former Ottawa captain was sighted at the Bell Centre on Friday morning.

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