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Sens depart for Sweden on a winning note after 3-1 triumph over Habs

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OTTAWA - Chris Neil's team-leading third goal of the pre-season Saturday night broke a second-period tie and lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

In their final exhibition game in North America before departing on a season-opening trip to Sweden, the Senators also received goals from Nick Foligno and Daniel Alfredsson.

Martin Gerber allowed a goal to Montreal's Kyle Chipchura on the first shot of the game, then went on to record 18 stops for Ottawa (3-2-0).

For the Canadiens (3-2-0), Marc Denis gave up three goals on 18 shots before being replaced by Cedrick Desjardins to start the third. Desjardins stopped all nine shots he faced the rest of the way.

The Canadiens beat the Senators 5-0 a night earlier at the Bell Centre and the rivalry continued before a sold-out crowd of 20,282 at Scotiabank Place.

Chipchura, who split last season between Montreal and AHL Hamilton, opened the scoring just 35 seconds in.

The centre blocked a shot by Senators defenceman Chris Phillips at his own blue-line, carried the puck into Ottawa's zone before deking Anton Volchenkov and wristing a shot over the shoulder of Gerber.

It was also a strong individual effort at the other end that tied it when Foligno went around Mike Komisarek while 1-on-1 before flipping the puck over Denis while falling to the ice.

In the second period, Neil collected a loose puck in the slot, spun and fired a shot past the Canadiens' goaltender and Jason Spezza threaded the needle on a long breakout pass to send Alfredsson in for a breakaway goal.

The Senators depart for Sweden on Sunday night, where they'll face Frolunda in an exhibition game on Oct. 2 before opening the regular season with back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 4 and 5.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, play host to the Florida Panthers on Sunday night.

Ottawa reassigned five players to Binghamton of the American Hockey League earlier Saturday, a move that reduced its roster to 25. Sent packing were defenceman Brendan Bell and forwards Brad Isbister, Matt Carkner, Peter Regin and Greg Mauldin.

The Senators also agreed to terms with veteran blue-liner Luke Richardson on a one-year, two-way contract after the 39-year-old attended training camp on a tryout basis. Richardson has played 1,415 regular-season games over 20 previous NHL campaigns.

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