For every National Hockey League team there are times during the season when absolutely nothing goes right, then suddenly everything starts going its way.
The breaks, bounces, loose pucks and goals went the Montreal Canadiens’ way last night as they defeated the Ottawa Senators for only the second time in seven meetings this season, winning 7-5 in front of 21,834 spectators at the Bell Centre.
In the latter part of a key division matchup, the Senators shook off whatever ailed them to put a scare into Montreal, though came up short on the scoreboard to fall behind the Canadiens by seven points for the Northeast Division lead.
Andrei Kostitsyn led Montreal with a pair of goals. Christopher Higgins, Francis Bouillion, Andrei Markov, Mikhail Grabovksi and Tom Kostopoulos also scored while Alexei Kovalev had two assists.
Dany Heatley scored twice for Ottawa, with Antoine Vermette, Martin Lapointe and Jason Spezza chipping in with singles. Daniel Alfredsson had three assists in a losing cause for the Senators.
Montreal built a 3-0 first period lead, chasing Martin Gerber from the Ottawa goal. He was replaced by Ray Emery. Gerber gave up three goals on 14 shots.
Vermette’s 19th goal of the season midway through the middle frame narrowed Montreal’s lead to 3-1 but the Habs scored four straight on Emery to widen their lead to 7-1.
But despite being down by six goals, the Senators chipped away at Montreal’s lead by scoring four goals and commanding play for the third period before running out of time to stage a rally.