<
>

Montreal 6, Ottawa 5

MONTREAL (AP) -- Alex Kovalev scored his second goal of the third
period with 1:52 remaining to give the Montreal Canadiens a 6-5 win
over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night in the final preseason
game for both teams.

Inserted between Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov in the wake of
center Mike Ribeiro's trade to Dallas prior to the game, Tomas
Plekanec set up the tying goal by Samsonov with 4:44 remaining in
regulation before making a centering pass from behind the net to
set up Kovalev's backhand winner from the slot.

Samsonov, who also assisted on the winner, had three points in
the third, including an assist on Kovalev's first goal 3:51 into
the third for his first point in five preseason games. He then
brought the sellout crowd of 21,273 to its feet when he was left
unmarked to receive Andrei Markov's pass to fire a shot beyond
Martin Gerber into an open right side at 15:16.

Mike Johnson, Michael Ryder and Sheldon Souray also scored for
Montreal. Chris Higgins had two assists.

Christoph Schubert and Chris Neil scored 55 seconds apart in the
second period to give Ottawa 5-3 lead. Jason Spezza had two assists
and Dany Heatley, Andrej Meszaros and Peter Schaefer also scored
for the Senators (5-4), who open the season Wednesday night in
Toronto before hosting the Maple Leafs the following night.

The Canadiens will begin the season with three straight road
games, including their 97th opener Friday night in Buffalo.

With the teams tied at 2 after combining for four goals in the
first 7:52 of the first period, Schaefer beat Cristobal Huet 1:07
into the second.

Souray, who missed two games because of a shoulder injury, tied
it at 3 with a power-play goal at 3:30.

Spezza picked up his second point -- his 10th in seven preseason
games -- when he set up Schubert's power-play goal at 5:27. Neil
made it a 5-3 lead with his fourth goal in six preseason games, an
unassisted effort at 6:22.

Kovalev drew Montreal to within one 3:51 into the third when he
drove a slap shot past Gerber from the top of the left faceoff
circle.

The Canadiens acquired defenseman Janne Niinimaa from Dallas
prior to the game in the trade that sent Ribeiro to the Stars. The
31-year-old Finn bolsters Montreal's defense, which has lost
Francis Bouillon and Jean-Philippe Cote to injury.