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Post-game report: Montreal 5 Ottawa 3

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA (AP) - Chris Higgins scored the go-ahead goal and David Aebischer made 44 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens match their longest winning streak in more than 13 years with a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Mike Ribeiro had three points, including his 15th goal, and Alex Kovalev had three assists. Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu and Jan Bulis also scored for Montreal, which extended its winning streak to eight games and tied New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 89 points.

The Canadiens, who play four of their last six games at home, have their longest win streak since an eight-game run from Oct. 24 to Nov. 11, 1992.

Ottawa's Dany Heatley scored twice, setting new team records with 47 goals and 95 points. Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Eastern Conference-leading Senators, who remain two games ahead of Carolina. Both teams also have six games remaining.

Higgins scored for the eighth time in eight games, on a power play at 12:42 of the second period when he put a rebound past Ray Emery for his 21st goal of the season.

The 22-year-old native of Smithtown, N.Y., put Montreal ahead for good in a 5-3 win over Boston on Tuesday. He has 14 goals and five assists in 20 games since the Olympic break.

Aebischer, who allowed five goals in each of his three previous starts with the Canadiens, made his first appearance since March 26. Acquired from Colorado in the March 8 trade that sent Jose Theodore to the Avalanche, Aebischer won his second in a row to even his record with the Canadiens despite allowing 18 goals in four games.

The Senators, who held Montreal to 12 shots - tying a Canadiens franchise low - in a 3-0 win Jan. 26, outshot Montreal 47-32 overall.

Dandenault opened the scoring with his fifth goal 1:46 in before Meszaros tied it at 6:37 as the Senators enjoyed a 21-6 margin in shots in the opening period.

Heatley's first goal put the Senators up 2-1 on a power play 5:51 into the second, and moved him ahead of Atlanta's Marian Hossa - who had 45 goals with Ottawa in 2001-02. Heatley scored twice in Monday's 6-4 win over the Thrashers to draw even with Hossa, the principal player sent to the Thrashers in the Aug. 23 trade that brought Heatley to the Senators.

Montreal came right back just 11 seconds later to tie it at 2 off the ensuing faceoff as the Senators turned over the puck to Alex Kovalev in their own zone.

Emery stopped Kovalev's shot but Ribeiro was right there to grab the rebound and put a backhand around the Ottawa goalie into the open right side at 6:02 while the public address announcer was still giving the details of Heatley's goal.

Senators defenseman Brad Norton and Montreal right wing Aaron Downey were each given 10-minute misconducts for their non-fight 12:45 into the second. Norton and Downey dropped their gloves and cocked their fists while circling each other for 20 seconds in the neutral zone, yet never came close to hitting each other before linesmen Derek Nansen and Dan Schacte stepped between them.

Heatley's second goal of the game, 12:35 into the third, moved him ahead of Alexei Yashin, who had a team-record 94 points with Ottawa in 1998-99.

Notes: Heatley's previous season highs were 41 goals and 89 points with Atlanta in 2002-03. ... Canadiens C Steve Begin blocked two shots after losing his stick while killing a penalty in the first. Begin stopped the second shot with his midsection and tried unsuccessfully to swipe the puck out of the Canadiens zone with his hand. ... The crowd of 19,929 was Ottawa's 31st sellout in 38 home games.

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