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Kovalev, Markov spark Canadiens past Senators

Nov 1, 2006 - 3:31 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Markov got off to slow starts this season, but they have awakened at the right time.

Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist and Kovalev added a goal as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-2.

With Montreal leading, 2-1, Markov scored the eventual game-winner when he shot the puck the length of the ice into an empty net for a 3-1 lead with 1:16 to play.

Steve Begin gave the Canadiens a three-goal lead 19 seconds later before the Senators' Tom Preissing sliced the deficit to 4-2 with nine seconds left.

"It's discouraging to lose, and we didn't have a good second period," Ottawa's Patrick Eaves said. "We worked really hard in the third but we ran out of time. We'll go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get ready for the next game."

Leading, 1-0, early in the second period, Montreal doubled its advantage at 18:32 of the second period. Kovalev streaked toward the Ottawa net and redirected Sergei Samsonov's pass at the edge of the crease past goaltender Ray Emery.

Kovalev, who only had three goals and three assists in his first nine games, has four points in his last two games and Samsonov has three points in his last two outings.

"It's good for us, you want three or four lines that can play defense and score some goals to succeed," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said of Kovalev and Samsonov working together. "There's players that joined us in the summertime, and it's going to take some time for them to really feel comfortable.

"All everyone is asking is to give them some time to feel the chemistry. When they have that much talent, it will come out sooner than later."

Ottawa halved the deficit 6:19 into the third period when Jason Spezza's shot sailed through a maze of players and past Montreal netminder David Aebischer. Spezza extended his points streak to six games. He has 12 points in that stretch.

The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead at 5:30 of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Christopher Higgins picked up the puck at center ice after a Senators turnover, skated in and shoveled a backhander between Emery's legs.

Higgins, who has seven goals this season, has three shorthanded tallies.

"Intensity and anticipation, that's what makes a good penalty killer," Higgins said. "I'm just trying to work as hard as I can out there, that's what the fans deserve."

Aebischer, who had given up nine goals in his previous two games, finished with 31 saves.

"We played well and when it's like that, it's easier for the goalie," Aebischer said. "The communication between me and my defense was really good, and is getting better."

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