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Vermette, Fisher score shootout goals to lift Sens to win

MONTREAL (AP) -- Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson
were sitting on the Ottawa Senators' bench as some of their
unheralded teammates were chosen ahead of them to take the
game-deciding shots.

With the high-scoring trio looking on, Antoine Vermette and Mike
Fisher scored in the shootout to help Ottawa end its three-game
losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on
Saturday night.

"We have little contests every once in a while and Vermette's
one of the guys that always scores," said Senators coach Bryan
Murray, who also tabbed third-line center Dean McAmmond to take
Ottawa's second shot. "Dean McAmmond, I don't know that he misses
very often, and then Fish, I just really like his quick hands. He's
not a big-time goal scorer but he's quick and on a goaltender like
Huet that you've got to move, he can do that, and he did it."

After Vermette opened the shootout with a backhand through
Cristobal Huet's pads, Fisher beat the Montreal goalie on Ottawa's
third attempt to seal the win.

"I studied up on Alfredsson and Spezza, so I didn't know what
to expect, but I think it was a good decision," Huet said. "It
surprised me."

Ray Emery stopped Chris Higgins and Saku Koivu on Montreal's
first two attempts.

"He made a few great saves to stop a couple of good players, so
it was up to me to finish it and luckily I got a goal," Fisher
said. "Overall, it was good to get a win. Ray played great
throughout the game. He gave us the chance to win it."

Montreal's Sergei Samsonov tied it at 2 with 3:23 left in the
third. Samsonov carried the puck around the right side of the
Senators' zone and beat Emery with a wrist shot through the Ottawa
goalie's legs.

"We battled back. We've had a couple of those games where we
came from behind and ended up winning the game," Samsonov said.
"This team definitely has character."

Emery, who stopped 27 shots in a 1-0 loss Thursday to Calgary,
made 23 saves in his second straight start after backing up Martin
Gerber.

Denis Hamel and Chris Kelly scored in the first for the
Senators, who went 0-for-5 on the power play and have failed to
score in their last 28 opportunities with the man advantage.

Ottawa, which led the NHL with 314 goals last season, is
1-for-30 on the power play this season.

"We're going to spend a lot of time this week on that," Murray
said. "The disappointing part is that we have many chances to
shoot the puck and we pass up shots and try to do things that you
really can't do against good penalty killing teams. But you know
full well that with the group of guys we have we're going to score
some day in the near future and that will make a big change in the
attitude on the power play."

Higgins scored his third goal midway through the first for
Montreal, which dropped its 97th home opener after returning from a
season-opening three-game road trip.

Hamel opened the scoring with his first goal of the season on an
unassisted effort 7:07 in. After fanning on his initial backhand
attempt from the left edge of the crease, Hamel stayed with the
play and beat Huet with a backhand that slid just inside the left
post.

Higgins tied it at 11:24 with his second short-handed goal in as
many games. Saku Koivu intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and
Higgins picked it up on the fly, breaking in on Emery and beating
the Senators goalie with a wrist shot past his glove.

Kelly restored Ottawa's lead at 13:49 with his first goal of the
season when he got behind defenseman Sheldon Souray to redirect
Patrick Eaves' pass across the goalmouth into an open right side.

Game notes
The Canadiens' pre-game introduction featured a "24"
theme, complete with a video cameo by Jack Bauer. Kiefer
Sutherland, the Canadian actor who portrays the TV show's hero,
capped a split-screen montage of players making their way to the
game with a recorded greeting on the video scoreboard.