Montreal-Ottawa: Canadiens Top Senators 4-3, First Place Up For Grabs

Francois GendronSenior Writer IFebruary 6, 2008

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the first-place Ottawa Senators yesterday evening at the Bell Centre. The building was filled to capacity and the atmosphere was simply electric.

Ottawa struck first early into the game on Chris Kelly's ninth goal of the season. But after the early mistake, Montreal took the game into the Sens' defensive zone for the most part of the first two periods.

Andrei Kostitsyn tied the game on the power play with his 16th goal of the season followed by Tomas Plekanec's 18th of the season on a great feed from Alex Kovalev.

During the second period, Montreal kept the pressure on Ottawa. Goaltender Martin Gerber showed signs of weakness on a long shot by Mark Streit. Then Tomas Plekanec scored his second goal of the game and his 19th of the season on another gift from Gerber. Montreal led by 4-1 after two periods.

Ottawa did play a lot better during the third period and pulled themselves within a single goal with scores from Jason Spezza and Antoine Vermette. Christobal Huet closed the door for the rest of the game as he made a couple of big saves to prevent Ottawa from tying the game.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4, Ottawa Senators 3.

The line of Tomas Plekanec (two goals, one assist), Alex Kovalev (three assists) and Andrei Kostitsyn (one goal, two assists) were named the first three stars of the game.

Montreal brought themselves within a single point of the Senators who are still holding on to the first place of the Eastern conference. The teams will face each other once again on Saturday and this time, first place could be at stake.