OTTAWA - Alex Tanguay scored the deciding goal in shootout Thursday night as Montreal Canadiens rallied from a goal down late to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a battle of two slumping teams.
Andrei Markov's late goal forced extra time and Tanguay successfully deked Senators goaltender Alex Auld to settle an entertaining game before a sold-out crowd of 20,475 at Scotiabank Place.
Jason Spezza beat Canadiens netminder Carey Price on the first attempt in shootout, but Price went on to stop Daniel Alfredsson, Jarkko Ruutu and Antoine Vermette.
Auld turned away Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu, but in between couldn't stop Markov, which allowed Tanguay to decide it inthe shootout's fourth round.
The Senators came into the game mired in a five-game winless slide, the most recent a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, and hadn't won since Nov. 6.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens were coming off a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, their second straight defeat and third in their past four games. The Canadiens had just two victories in their last seven games heading into Thursday.
Dany Heatley for Ottawa and Koivu for Montreal exchanged first-period goals and Nick Foligno and Markov did the same in the third.
Alexandre Picard added a pair of assists and Auld stopped 19 shots for the Senators (6-9-4).
Sergei Kostitsyn had two helpers and Price made 23 saves for the Canadiens (11-5-2).
Both teams were without key players because of injuries.
The Senators learned Wednesday they'd be without forwards Mike Fisher and Chris Neil for the next few weeks because of knee injuries, resulting in the season debut of centre Cody Bass, while Montreal defenceman Mike Komisarek sat out his fourth straight game with a shoulder problem.
When the teams met Nov. 11 at the Bell Centre, Price stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 4-0 victory. In fact, dating back to April 1 of last season, he hadn't given up a goal to the Senators the past two times he faced them.
Goals have been hard to come by lately for the Senators, who have managed just five during their five-game slide, and coach Craig Hartsburg recently reunited the Pizza Line of Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson in search of some production.
The opening 90 seconds gave an indication that it would be an exciting night when Auld stopped Kovalev on a 2-on-1 break then Guillaume Latendresse from in close. Price robbed Heatley with a glove save on a 2-on-1 at the other end and Latendresse was run over by Senators defenceman Jason Smith.
Heatley opened the scoring at the 4:21 mark of the first when a point shot from Alexandre Picard was blocked by Markov, but fell in the slot for Heatley to score on a chip shot over a fallen Price.
Koivu got that one back for the Canadiens during a power play later in the period to make it 1-1.
The pace slowed in the second, where Montreal caught a break late in the period to remain on even ground.
With a delayed tripping call coming to Kovalev, Senators right-winger Shean Donovan circled behind the Canadiens' net and threw the puck out front, where Ottawa's Anton Volchenkov shot it past Price. However, the goal was immediately waved off by referee Don VanMassenhoven, who indicated that a slight touch on the puck by Montreal's Francis Bouillon off of Donovan's stick had ruled the play dead.
That brought a chorus of boos from the home fans. Their mood changed early in the third when, during another power play, Price failed to cover a rebound and Foligno dove to poke the puck through his pads for a 2-1 Ottawa advantage.
The goal, his third of the season, was his first since Oct. 18 and ended a 13-game goalless drought for the sophomore left-winger.
Just when the Canadiens looked to be in danger, however, Markov assured them of a least a point when he beat Auld from the slot with 4:24 remaining in regulation time.
Notes: The Canadiens went into the game having won the previous three meetings between the teams, but the Senators had won eight of the past 12 overall and 10 of 13 at Scotiabank Place. Ottawa scratched defencemen Christoph Schubert and Luke Richardson while forwards Mathieu Dandenault and Maxim Lapierre also didn't dress for the Canadiens. It was a high hit on Lapierre in the previous game between the teams that resulted in a two-game suspension for Senators left-winger Jarkko Ruutu. The Senators welcome former defenceman Wade Redden back to Ottawa for the first time Saturday when they play host to the Rangers. The Canadiens return home to meet the Boston Bruins that night when former goaltending great Patrick Roy will have his jersey retired.