Senators-Canadiens: Alfredson, Heatley, Spezza Dominate

paul masonCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2008

The final score of the Montreal-Ottawa rematch was Ottawa 6, Montreal 1.

Earlier this week, the Habs beat a Heatley and Alfredsonless Senator squad 4-3. Tonight's rematch was expected by many to be an intense match.

Spezza scored 22 seconds into the first period, and his line added two more goals by the 4:45 mark of the period. Huet was pulled after the third goal was let in on the fourth shot faced. Coach Carboneau replaced Huet with rookie Carey Price, who was recalled earlier this week from Hamilton. 

However the play was in Ottawa's end for the latter fifteen minutes of the opening frame. Spurred on by a power play, Montreal iced shift after shift of intense forechecking, keeping the puck in Ottawa's defensive zone, but unable to beat Emery at the intermission.

The second period was pretty evenly played, although Ottawa added two goals by the Heatly, Alfredson, and Spezza line to Montreal's one by Andrei Kostitsyn. Ottawa beat Montreal in battles for some loose pucks, but as far as offensive zone time it was pretty evenly matched. It was only when Alfredson scored in the sixth period that it seemed like all the air deflated out of the Canadiens.

The final score seemed to answer the question of who was the real favorite to win the Eastern Conference, as with the loss Montreal now slips five points behind Ottawa for the lead.

Earlier this week Montreal was a mere point behind the Senators for first place in the conference, but a 3 out of 4 game losing skid has hurt the Canadiens in the standings.

This Bleacherreport scribe contends though that Montreal is not out of the picture. The game was not as lopsided as the final score suggests. Montreal outshot Ottawa in the first period, but could not beat Emery. Montreal also hit at least four posts/crossbars during the game.

In short, after Ottawa stormed out of the gate in the opening five minutes to make their statement, Montreal proved they were able to play with the big boys in the East. Outside of Ottawa's first line, who accounted for all six goals, the rest of the Senators were evenly matched by Carboneau's squad.

Credit also has to be given to Emery, who played like he wished to erase all the season's earlier distractions and controversy and reclaim his number one goalie status.