After a strong start to the season, the Montreal Canadiens have won only two of their past seven games and have slipped to fourth in the North Division.
Montreal dropped their second straight game on Sunday with a 3-2 overtime loss to the last-place Ottawa Senators, with centre Nick Suzuki stating postgame that the team was "playing not to lose."
"I think we're pretty much all up in our own heads right now. I think just overthinking it, playing not to lose. That's never a good thing to do. I think at the start of the season we were really energized. Everyone was having fun. That's just gotten away from us," Suzuki said.
Suzuki, 21, ended a four-game point drought when he opened the scoring Sunday, while Corey Perry scored his first since Jan. 23 late in the third period to push the game to overtime.
Head coach Claude Julien said he believes the Canadiens are taking too many risks in their current gameplay and must adjust their style. After averaging more than four goals per game early in the year, the Canadiens have only scored more than two goals once in their previous seven games including Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"We should've simplified our game," Julien said after Sunday's loss. "Some of the breakaways we gave, we're just playing high-risk hockey at times. We're making some decisions that are high risk and it ends up costing us. So, we need to settle down here and play a more stable type of game."
The Canadiens are now 1-1-1 against the Senators and will face Ottawa again for the second half of a two-game set on Tuesday.