March 25, 2015

The Montreal Canadiens' fourth game in six nights came against a third straight physical opponent that they weren't able to match - and this one was well-rested.

And no matter whom they play, they still can't find their scoring touch.

Montreal concludes a four-game road trip against Western Conference opponents Saturday night when it faces another hard-hitting team in the Winnipeg Jets, who like the Canadiens have dropped three in a row.

Montreal (30-29-6) managed a season-low 15 shots in a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday, scoring two goals for the third straight time on the trip. Matchups with San Jose on Monday and Anaheim on Wednesday left the Canadiens drained, and the Kings - considered perhaps the most physical team in the league - came in off a three-day break.

"They came out hard. These were three physical games. They were really physically demanding," forward Max Pacioretty told the team's official website. "Tonight, there was no space out there. You know why that team has had so much success both this year and in the past. They just take away your time and space. ... You're going along the boards against them and you know you're getting hit."

The Canadiens' 2.12 non-shootout goals per game since Nov. 28 is among the three lowest marks in the league - a stretch in which the club has gone 12-25-4.

Pacioretty leads the club with 23 goals but has scored in only three of the last 19 games.

"Without looking for excuses, you can't forget that we've played four games in the last six nights and we were playing a team that hadn't played since Sunday," coach Michel Therrien said. "When you're playing a team like that and you've got the same energy level as they do, they're already tough to play against. They're the best defensive team in the league and I felt that the energy level just wasn't there for us."

A matchup with Winnipeg (26-32-5) might be what the Canadiens need to get back on track offensively. Montreal has won 11 of the last 14 meetings against the Jets franchise, taking the first one this season 5-1 on Nov. 1.

Winnipeg is 10th in the NHL with 25.56 hits per game - Los Angeles is first at 30.13 - but the Jets have gone 1-5-2 in their last eight, allowing 3.63 non-shootout goals in that span.

They've given up at least four goals seven times in the past 14 games and are allowing 2.97 on the season - among the worst marks in the league.

The New York Islanders' Kyle Okposo scored off a quirky rebound in overtime Thursday, converting when center Frans Nielsen blasted the puck toward the net and hit Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers in the face. Okposo got the rebound and shot it in past goaltender Michael Hutchinson for a 4-3 win.

"We battled our hearts out," said center Mark Scheifele, who scored twice and has five goals and five assists in his last seven games. "When you play a game like that, create as many chances we did ... It's obviously tough that it didn't come out our way.

"We can't get down on ourselves. It's going to (stink) tonight, we're going to feel bad about it tonight, but tomorrow's another work day and we know that we've got another game coming up."

Winnipeg has dropped six in a row and 11 of 13 at home, though it won 5-2 in its most recent matchup with Montreal there March 26.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has a goal and six assists in a seven-game point streak.

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