HabsWorld.net -- 

Against a depleted Senators team the Montreal Canadiens were able to extend their winning streak to eight games last night. Canadiens head coach Bob Gainey’s decision to start David Aebischer, in favor of the red hot Cristobal Huet paid off as Aebischer pushed aside 44 of 47 shots.


The first period was dominated by the Senators, but it was the Canadiens who struck first, with Mike Ribeiro and Alex Kovalev playing keep away from the Senators defenceman behind the net. Mathieu Dandenault crept in from the blue line and received a pass from Kovalev, Dandenault one-timed the puck into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season. Under five minutes later the Senators pulled even when rookie sensation and NHL +/- leader Andrei Meszaros wired his wrist shot thorough a maze of bodies, off the goal post and in. Patrick Eaves and Vaclav Varada picked up assists on the Senators goal.


When the third period ended the Senators had out shot the Canadiens by a 21-6 count. The Senators enjoyed the only two power plays of the period but were held at bay by the Canadiens penalty killers.


While enjoying their third straight power play the Senators earned their first lead of the game. After Aebischer had made the first two saves, Danny Heatley swooped in and buried his 46th goal of the season. Heatley’s goal set a franchise high for the Senators breaking Marian Hossa’s record from the 2002-2003 season. The Senators lead would not last long , just eleven seconds later Alex Kovalev stole the puck inside the Senators blue line and launched a low shot towards Senators goalie Ray Emery. Emery left a juicy rebound for Mike Ribeiro who slid the puck into the net for his 15th goal of the season.


Montreal eventually earned their first power play shortly after the half way point of the second period, and they would make the Senators pay. Ray Emery gave up yet another rebound in the slot and the puck found its way to Chris Higgins who scored his 21st goal of the season and 14th goal since the NHL’s Olympic break. Michael Ryder and Saku Koivu picked up assists on the Canadiens go ahead goal.


Before the third period ended Aaron Downey and Brad Norton dropped their gloves at centre ice but neither decided to throw a single punch. Both players were given ten minute misconducts for nothing more then delay of game, and received a round of boo’s from both the Senators and Canadiens faithful.


Montreal found the back of the net once again only 35 seconds into the third period. Chris Higgins hustled to negate an icing call and moved the puck to Michael Ryder at the half boards. Ryder moved the puck back behind the net to Koivu, who immediately cut out in front of the net and beat Ray Emery on the short side for his 17th goal of the season.


The Habs would extend their lead to three on their third power play of the evening. It would be Jan Bulis who would cap off a beautiful passing play from Kovalev to Ribeiro through the neutral zone. Bulis scored for the second game in a row after being a healthy scratch for five of the previous six games, Bulis is just one goal away from 20 on the season.


Before the game ended Danny Heatley would strike again, with eight minutes left he scored his second goal of the game and broke his second single season Senators record. This time it was Alexei Yashin’s single season point record of 94, which was set in the 1998-1999 season.



Three Stars


1.       Alex Kovalev

2.       David Aebischer

3.       Chris Higgins


Fun Facts


1.       David Aebischer made 44 saves last night which is a career best for the young Swiss born goalie.

2.       This is Montreal‘s longest winning streak since October and November of the 1992-1993 season.

3.       Antoine Vermette was the only Senators player to not record a shot on goal last night.

4.       Mathieu Dandenault has a +10 rating since the Olympic break.