MONTREAL - Daniel Alfredsson returned from injury with a goal and assisted on two more, including Zach Smith's first career goal, as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in the NHL on Saturday night.
Chris Phillips had the game-winner in the second period for the Senators (24-21-4), who moved two points ahead of the Canadiens (23-22-4) in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Alfredsson, who missed 11 games with a separated left shoulder also got an assist as Mike Fisher added an empty net goal with 26 seconds left.
Benoit Pouliot and Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal, which ended a four-game homestand at 2-1-1. Montreal plays the Rangers in New York on Sunday night.
Mike Brodeur, who got his first shutout in only his second career start against the Rangers on Thursday night, looked shaky at times but still made 30 saves to improve to 3-0-0. Carey Price made 24 saves for Montreal.
Ottawa has two wins in a row following a five-game losing run.
Smith had the brightest moment of his early NHL career as Pouliot lost the puck off his stick in the neutral zone and Alfredsson sent the 21-year-old down the right side to beat Carey Price with a high shot short-handed at 11:26. It was Smith's first goal and point in six games.
Pouliot made up for it just after the penalty to Fisher ended, as he was left alone in front of the net to beat Brodeur with a shot that went in off a post at 12:49.
Another power play has just ended when Plekanec wheeled around and fired a shot from a tight angle that went in off Brodeur's pad 2:05 into the second frame.
Alfredsson tied it at 3:45 as he backhanded the rebound of a Matt Carkner shot between Price's pads and Phillips put Ottawa ahead when his point shot eluded the Montreal goaltender at 5:07.
Notes: Coach Cory Clouston said Saturday morning that defenceman Filip Kuba would return from an upper body injury, but he did not dress. Alfredsson's return bumped Kaspars Daugavins from the lineup ... Ryan O'Byrne, who took four games off to be an ailing family member, was scratched for a second stright game since his return ... Obscure stat: Brian's Gionta's two goals Thursday against Dallas made him the first players with two or more goals in his 500th career game since Olli Jokinen on Nov. 25, 2005.