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Russian connection leads Canadiens past Senators

Oct 1, 2006 - 2:32 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov are proving to be quite a pairing for the Montreal Canadiens.

The duo and fellow Russian Andrei Markov combined for three goals and four assists in the third period to lead the Canadiens to a 6-5 triumph over the Ottawa Senators in the final preseason game for both clubs.

Signed to a two-year, $7.05 million contract during the offseason, Samsonov has been placed on a line with Kovalev and Czech Tomas Plekanec, and the trio began to click in the final session Saturday.

With Montreal trailing, 5-3, Kovalev began the impressive performance with his second goal of the preseason at 3:51. Samsonov forged a tie with 4:44 to go and Kovalev capped his two-goal effort with 1:52 remaining.

Markov, Samsonov and Plekanec picked up two assists apiece in the period.

Newcomer Mike Johnson, Michael Ryder and defenseman Sheldon Souray also scored and Chris Higgins added a pair of assists for the Canadiens, who visit the Buffalo Sabres for their season opener on Friday.

The Senators, who received goals from Dany Heatley, Peter Schaefer, tough guy Chris Neil and defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Christoph Schubert, begin the campaign on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

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