Canadiens edge Senators


MONTREAL – Richard Zednik scored his first goal in over a month midway through the third period to snap a tie, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

Zednik, who hadn’t scored in 13 games since March 7, backhanded a rebound into an open right side at 9:27 to give Montreal its second lead. He paid for the goal by being pushed face first into the crossbar by Ottawa’s Peter Schaefer.

David Aebischer made 35 saves to defeat Ottawa for the second time in five days. Chris Higgins scored for the fourth straight game and Sheldon Souray also had a goal for Montreal, which moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference – two points ahead of Tampa Bay.

The Canadiens, two points behind sixth-place New Jersey, have won nine of 10. Montreal bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Devils on Saturday that snapped an eight-game losing streak, its longest in over 13 years.

Dany Heatley extended his team record to 48 goals for Ottawa, which has lost a season-high four straight and remained tied with Carolina for first place in the East with 108 points. Rookie defenseman Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Senators, who hadn’t lost more than two in a row before this skid.

Aebischer, who made 44 saves Thursday in a 5-3 win in Ottawa, stopped 15 shots in the first as the Senators held a 16-10 margin in the period and 37-25 overall.

Senators forward Patrick Eaves sustained a lower body injury in the second period and didn’t return. Ottawa was already playing without goalie Dominik Hasek and top three defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Chris Phillips.

Higgins opened the scoring 2:57 in with his 23rd goal after Montreal killed off Mike Komisarek’s holding penalty. Ray Emery stopped Andrei Markov’s wrist shot, but Higgins got the rebound and put a backhand past the Ottawa goalie for his ninth goal in eight games.

Jason Spezza extended his Senators record with his 68th assist, and Daniel Alfredsson added his 54th when Meszaros redirected Spezza’s shot past Aebischer on Ottawa’s second power play at 5:53.

Heatley gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead when he recovered his own rebound and moved around Aebischer to tuck a backhand into the right side at 11:10.

Souray tied it 6:58 into the second with his 11th goal, one-timing a puck off the left boards past Emery from a sharp angle.

Notes: Senators RW Martin Havlat was cleared to return to the lineup Saturday in Toronto. Havlat was examined in Cleveland earlier in the day by Dr. Anthony Miniaci, who performed surgery on Havlat’s dislocated right shoulder on Dec. 10. … Canadiens centers Steve Begin and Radek Bonk didn’t play. Begin sprained his knee in Saturday’s loss, and Bonk has an unspecified leg injury. … C Maxim Lapierre was recalled by Montreal from Hamilton of the AHL earlier Monday but he didn’t dress. … The Canadiens sold out its first 39 home games.

AP-ES-04-10-06 2217EDT