- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

OTTAWA (AP) - Jason Spezza scored goals 52 seconds apart late in the first period, and Daniel Alfredsson added a goal and an assist in the Ottawa Senators’ 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Nick Foligno and Jarkko Ruutu also scored for Ottawa, which has won three in a row and seven of eight. Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots and set an Ottawa rookie record with his seventh straight victory.

Montreal, which got a pair from Guillaume Latendresse and singles from Alex Tanguay and Tom Kostopoulos, lost its fourth in a row and remains tied with Carolina for seventh place in a tight race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spots.

The Canadiens fell to 1-2-2 since general manager Bob Gainey took over behind the bench after firing Guy Carbonneau on March 9.

Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves after taking over for Carey Price following Ruutu’s highlight-reel goal early in the second. Halak stopped Christoph Schubert on a breakaway and made a left toe save on Alfredsson before Latendresse scored his second of the game midway through the second to draw Montreal to 4-3.

Foligno scored with the man advantage 2:55 in after Latendresse opened the scoring 2:04 in with his first goal in two games since returning from a shoulder injury.

Spezza scored Ottawa’s second straight power-play goal 16:44 into the first before adding his second goal _ his 27th of the season _ on a deflection that made it 3-1 at 17:36.

He picked up his third point of the game with an assist on Alfredsson’s goal 14:34 into the second that put Ottawa up 5-3.

Montreal closed within one three times, including Kostopoulos’ ninth goal late in the second, without getting the tying goal.

Tanguay, who had the flu and missed Tuesday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers, scored 48 seconds into the second to draw Montreal within 3-2.

Ruutu answered moments later to chase Price, who made 11 saves. The pesky Finnish forward drove the right side and put the puck between his legs before putting a backhand into the top right corner that left the Canadiens goalie looking over his left shoulder while the Senators celebrated restoring their two-goal lead.

Notes:@ Tanguay has two goals in six games since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two months. … Elliott improved to 14-4-3 in 25 games since he was called up from Binghamton of the AHL in January. … Jani Hurme won six straight games for Ottawa during his rookie season in 2000-01, and Ray Emery matched the streak as a rookie in 2005-06. … Senators LW Dany Heatley scored five of Ottawa’s nine goals overall against Montreal through the first four games of their season series.

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