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The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are separated by 1 point in the Northeast Division standings.

That could change after the rivals play a home-and-home series, which begins Thursday at Scotiabank Place.

The Canadiens (29-20-6) are 2nd in the division with 64 points - 14 behind first-place Buffalo - while the Senators (30-22-3) are right behind with 63 points. Montreal and Ottawa are currently the fourth and sixth seeds, respectively, in the Eastern Conference, where just three points separate the fourth and eighth-place teams.

Both clubs have lost three of their last four games, though, and are looking to get back on track.

Ottawa had a chance to leapfrog over Montreal in the standings Wednesday, but fell 3-2 to the Sabres. Peter Schaefer tied the game early in the third period, but Buffalo's Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game with four minutes remaining.

"We tried," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "The guys had the puck and had a flurry for a couple of shifts, but not consistently."

The Senators will look for a better result at home, where they are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. They'll host a Montreal team that has dropped seven of its last nine on the road.

Senators goaltender Ray Emery has dropped his last three starts beginning with that defeat, but backup Martin Gerber may get the start Thursday as Ottawa plays on consecutive nights. Gerber is 4-1-0 with a 2.41 GAA in five career starts versus the Canadiens.

U can catch the game on A-channel at 7:30 PM ET. Hope the Sens can pull off a win.:D
 

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Senators, Canadiens ready for crucial home-and-home set

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to reverse their losing trend so far in February as they travel to Scotiabank Place for the opener of a home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators.

The Habs have dropped three of their four games (1-2-1) to begin this month and are coming off a close loss to visiting Carolina on Tuesday. Frantisek Kaberle scored the game-winning goal in the third period to help the Hurricanes earn the 2-1 victory at the Bell Centre.

Alex Kovalev scored the lone goal and David Aebischer stopped 32 shots in the loss for the Canadiens, who are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with 64 points.

Montreal has been an average road team this season, posting a 12-11-3 mark as the visitor this year.

The Senators will be trying to avoid their third consecutive loss this evening. Ottawa hasn't dropped three in a row since December 6-10.

The Sens were dealt a setback in Buffalo on Wednesday, as Thomas Vanek scored two goals, including the game-winner with four minutes remaining, to give the Sabres a 3-2 win at HSBC Arena.

FULL STORY
 

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Spezza and Senators drop Canadiens

Canadian Press
2/8/2007 10:22:57 PM


OTTAWA (CP) - Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist and Dany Heatley's marker early in the second period Thursday stood up as the winner as the Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 in the front end of a home-and-home series between the teams.

Chris Phillips and Peter Schaefer also scored for the Senators (31-22-3), who stopped a two-game losing slide and won for just the second time in five games to leapfrog Montreal in the Northeast Division standings.

Senators goaltender Ray Emery stopped 27 shots to pick up his 23rd win of the season, matching his victory total from all of last year.

A sold-out Scotiabank Place crowd of 19,915 watched the Senators, who had lost 3-2 to the Sabres a night earlier at Buffalo, take an early lead on Montreal from which the Canadiens never recovered.

Anton Volchenkov added two assists for the Senators.

Guillaume Latendresse had the lone goal on a second-period penalty shot and Cristobal Huet finished with 35 saves for the Canadiens (29-21-6), who have lost back-to-back games and four of their past five.

Montreal went 0-for-6 on the power play while Ottawa finished 1-for-8.

The teams meet again Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau reunited the line of Saku Koivu, Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder. It was a combination that served Montreal well in the early part of the season, but it was the Senators who took the lead 4½ minutes into the game.

Chris Neil sidestepped a check from Aaron Downey in the neutral zone and hit Phillips with a lead pass. Huet got a piece of Phillips' drive from the top of the faceoff circle, but the puck rolled off the tip of the goaltender's glove and in.

It was the seventh straight game in which the Canadiens have allowed the first goal.

Montreal then proceeded to give up a goal just 56 seconds into the second as Spezza found Heatley in the slot as Heatley notched his 32nd goal of the season.

FULL STORY
 
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