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Higgins scores three, Price gets shutout as Habs blank Sens 4-0 @NHL

MONTREAL - Christopher Higgins scored his first career hat-trick and Carey Price made 28 saves for the shutout as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Ottawa Senators 4-0 Tuesday night.

Guillaume Latendresse also scored for Northeast Division-leading Montreal (9-2-2), which ended a two-game losing run. The Senators (6-7-2), who are last in the division, lost both games on a two-game road trip.

Higgins, who had scored twice in a game nine times, had a goal in each period to give him four in seven games since returning from a groin injury.

Price rebounded from a weak outing in a 6-3 loss in Toronto on Saturday night to post his first shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. His last shutout was 3-0 against Ottawa on April 1, which was the last time the two teams met.

The highlight for the 21-year-old was a toe save on Dany Heatley in alone in the third period.

Montreal outshot the Senators 31-28.

The Canadiens were short-handed when Saku Koivu shovelled a pass from his own end to the far blue-line, sending Higgins in alone to lift the puck over Alex Auld 7:22 into the game.

Sergei Kostitsyn slipped the rebound of Ryan O'Byrne's point shot to Higgins for a shot into an open side 14:11 into the second frame. Latendresse got his first goal in 11 games with a one-timer to the top corner after Robert Lang won a face-off in the Ottawa zone.

With 3:25 left in the game, Higgins took a pass from Alex Tanguay at centre ice and went in alone to score on a high shot to the stick side.

Ottawa's Jarkko Ruutu had the sellout crowd of 21,273 aroar early in the third when he nailed Maxime Lapierre with an elbow to the jaw along the boards, drawing a charging call, and then fought to a draw with Francis Bouillon. Ruutu was later sent to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct for yapping at Lapierre on the bench.

It was a rare night on which Montreal shut down Ottawa's big three of Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, who together had 42 points in eight games against the Canadiens last season.

It has been six games since Alfredsson was moved onto Mike Fisher's line. Spezza has only one assist in his last five games.

Notes - Last season, Ottawa was 5-3-0 against Montreal, but lost the last two meetings. . . Tom Kostopoulos served the first of his three-game suspension for a hit from behind on Toronto's Mike Van Ryn. Steve Begin and Patrice Brisebois were healthy scratches for Montreal. . . Luke Richardson sat out for Ottawa.

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