for this game

Spezza, Gerber propel Senators past Canadiens

Mar 14, 2008 - 3:53 AM
By Mark Lidbetter PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MONTREAL (Ticker) - The duo of Jason Spezza and Martin Gerber helped the Ottawa Senators continue to haunt the Montreal Canadiens.

Spezza scored a pair of power-play goals as the Senators blanked the Canadiens, 3-0, on Thursday.

Gerber posted his second shutout of the season and Antoine Vermette also tallied for Ottawa (40-25-7), which tied Montreal (39-24-9) atop the Northeast Division. Ottawa joins Montreal and idle Pittsburgh one point shy of the New Jersey Devils for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey defeated Minnesota, 4-3, in a shootout on Thursday.

"Every game is in the division now, so they are all four-point games," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "It was an important win here in Montreal but every game is important the rest of the way."

The Senators, who have also won three in a row, continued their recent dominance against the Canadiens. Ottawa is 5-1-0 vs. Montreal this season and has won eight of the last nine in the series.

"For some reason we play on our heels against these guys," Canadiens left wing Chris Higgins said. "Obviously they're a talented team, they pass the puck really well and it's tough to contain them coming through center ice with a lot of speed. We just play a little bit too much on our heels against these guys, we're just a different team when we play Ottawa."

Spezza has been one of the main factors in the Senators having the upper hand against the Canadiens.

The 24-year-old Spezza has seven goals and 14 points against Montreal this season, including his first career hat trick on February 9.

"That six-point game really helped," said Spezza, who also had three assists in his hat trick game last month. "But it's always fun to play in this building. We were up for this game from practice yesterday, we were passing with plenty of snap and everyone felt good."

The second overall pick in 2001, Spezza put Ottawa on the board at 8:21 in the first period. A blast by Corey Stillman from just inside the blue line was deflected by Spezza past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.

The Toronto native doubled the Senators' margin with another man-advantage tally very early in the middle session.

A mere 27 seconds into the second, blue-liner Andrej Meszaros blasted a shot that ricocheted off the backboards and into the air, where Spezza - hovering to the right of the goal - took a swipe at it. The puck went off the back of Price's calf before trickling into the net, giving Ottawa a 2-0 advantage.

It was Spezza's seventh multi-goal game of the season and 17th of his career.

"We didn't get our power play going like we usually do," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "On the other hand, they scored two on theirs. With 5-on-5, I think was pretty even, it was tight defensively.

"When they had the lead, they played very tight and in control. They've been on top for many years and that's the reason behind it. We were sloppy and didn't execute as well as we have been."

With less than two minutes left in the second, the Senators scored again when Chris Kelly rifled a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, handcuffing Price before Vermette banged the puck home with 1:59 left in the period for a three-goal cushion.

"(Ottawa) got to those loose pucks around the net and buried those three goals right around there," Price said. "They were better than us. You have to give them credit - they're a good team."

That was enough for Gerber, who stifled Montreal by stopping 12 shots in the first, five in the second and 11 in the final period for his ninth career shutout.

"There was the odd deflection and screen," Gerber said. "I think we did a really good job on the shots and working the rebounds and picking up guys who were hanging out loose there (in front)."

Price made 21 saves for the Canadiens, who have been outscored, 37-17, in the last nine games vs. Ottawa.

"The Habs looked like they didn't have the jump they usually do," Alfredsson said. "We played smart, we didn't turn the puck over much and they had to work for their chances.

Ottawa's experience is the factor that Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau attributes to the success the Senators have with Montreal.

"If you look at the last 70 games, it's teams with experience that give us the most problems," Carbonneau said. "(The Senators) have lost together and won together, they work and they made us work and play right into their hands."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 2 0 3
    MONTREAL 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 29 (CORY STILLMAN, DANIEL
    ALFREDSSON) 8:21
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 30 (ANDREJ MESZAROS, CORY STILLMAN)
    0:27
    OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 17 (CHRIS KELLY, MARTIN LAPOINTE)
    18:01
    3RD PRD: N

    Mar 13 10:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 2 3
    MONTREAL 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 29 (CORY STILLMAN, DANIEL
    ALFREDSSON) 8:21
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 30 (ANDREJ MESZAROS, CORY STILLMAN)
    0:27
    OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 17 (CHRIS KELLY, MARTIN LAPOINTE)
    18:

    Mar 13 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 3
    MONTREAL 0
    2ND PRD: OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 17 (CHRIS KELLY, MARTIN LAPOINTE)
    18:01

    Senators 3, Canadiens 0  2nd - 1:59Mar 13 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    MONTREAL 0
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 30 (ANDREJ MESZAROS, CORY STILLMAN)
    0:27

    Senators 2, Canadiens 0  2nd - 19:33Mar 13 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 1
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 29 (CORY STILLMAN, DANIEL
    ALFREDSSON) 8:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 8 8
    MON 12 12
    GOALIES: OTT - MARTI

    Mar 13 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 29 (CORY STILLMAN, DANIEL ALFREDSSON)
    8:21

    Senators 1, Canadiens 0  1st - 11:39Mar 13 7:58 PM
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