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Aebischer makes 44 saves as Habs win seventh straight

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens knew they caught the
short-handed Ottawa Senators at just the right time.

Chris Higgins scored the go-ahead goal and David Aebischer made
44 saves to help the Canadiens match their longest winning streak
in more than 13 years with a 5-3 victory over Ottawa on Thursday
night.

Mike Ribeiro had three points, including his 15th goal, and Alex
Kovalev had three assists. Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu and Jan
Bulis also scored for Montreal, which extended its winning streak
to eight games and tied New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern
Conference with 89 points.

Ottawa, which lost 5-4 in overtime the night before in Buffalo,
has been playing without five significant regulars -- goalie Dominik
Hasek, top three defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Chris
Phillips, and forward Martin Havlat.

"We've got to take that game with a grain of salt," Higgins
said. "They were missing four defensemen and obviously they have a
better team than what they put out there tonight. We're happy with
the win but it's not their best game."

The Canadiens, who play four of their last six games at home,
have their longest win streak since an eight-game run from Oct. 24
to Nov. 11, 1992.

"You can't get overly excited," Dandenault said. "It's nice
but at the same time we can't be happy with the way we played.
Obviously they're a beat-up team and they played last night and
still put out 47 shots. We've got to limit those chances because
against a healthy team, we're going to get killed if we play that
way."

Ottawa's Dany Heatley scored twice, setting new team records
with 47 goals and 95 points.

"It's nice but I would have liked to do it in a different
game," Heatley said.

Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Eastern Conference-leading
Senators, who remain two points ahead of Carolina. Both teams also
have six games remaining.

"We've got to play smarter, there's no question," captain
Daniel Alfredsson said. "We tried to keep it simple in our own end
and when we didn't, it cost us right away.

Higgins scored for the eighth time in eight games, on a power
play at 12:42 of the second period when he put a rebound past Ray
Emery for his 21st of the season.

"I've been spending a lot of time in front of the net on the
power play and I'm just getting loose pucks before anyone else and
making the most of my opportunities," Higgins said.

The 22-year-old native of Smithtown, N.Y., put Montreal ahead
for good in a 5-3 win over Boston on Tuesday. He has 14 goals and
five assists in 20 games since the Olympic break.

Aebischer, who allowed five goals in each of his three previous
starts with the Canadiens, made his first appearance since March
26. Acquired from Colorado in the March 8 trade that sent Jose
Theodore to the Avalanche, Aebischer won his second in a row to
even his record with the Canadiens despite allowing 18 goals in
four games.

"When you come in and you don't play the way you should it's
frustrating, especially after a trade," Aebischer said.

The Senators outshot Montreal 47-32 overall and 21-6 in the
first period.

Dandenault opened the scoring with his fifth goal 1:46 in before
Meszaros tied it at 6:37.

Heatley's first goal put the Senators up 2-1 on a power play
5:51 into the second, and moved him ahead of Marian Hossa's
team-record 45 goals in 2001-02. Heatley was traded for Hossa in
the offseason.

Montreal came right back just 11 seconds later to tie it at 2
when Emery stopped Kovalev's shot but Ribeiro put a backhand into
the open right side.

Heatley's second goal of the game, 12:35 into the third, moved
him ahead of Alexei Yashin, who had a team-record 94 points with
Ottawa in 1998-99.

Game notes
Heatley's previous season highs were 41 goals and 89 points
with Atlanta in 2002-03. ... Canadiens C Steve Begin blocked two
shots after losing his stick while killing a penalty in the first.
Begin stopped the second shot with his midsection and tried
unsuccessfully to swipe the puck out of the Canadiens zone with his
hand. ... The crowd of 19,929 was Ottawa's 31st sellout in 38 home
games.