Can't shake the Hab-it

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

MONTREAL -- File this one under the moral victory category.

The Senators came home empty handed after a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens here last night, but they believe with goals from Dany Heatley and Andrej Meszaros, they're going in the right direction for the playoffs.

While the Senators' losing streak hit a season-high four games, the players weren't hanging their heads as they walked out of the Bell Centre.

The Senators split the eight-game season series with the Habs. They could meet again in the first round of the playoffs.

"I thought we played well enough to win and we deserved a better result," said Senators centre Jason Spezza. "We had a lot of chances, we did a lot of good things and David Aebischer made some big saves for them. We just have to start putting the puck in the net when we get the chances."

A late goal by Montreal winger Richard Zednik buried the Senators with 9:27 left. It was giveaway by Bingamton callup Brad Norton that led to Zednik's winner. Ottawa played again without its top three defencemen.

"You saw the winning goal," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "Very definitely, it will be good to get some guys back."

The good news: Wade Redden is set to return tonight against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place and Zdeno Chara is not far behind him. The bad: The Senators lost winger Patrick Eaves last night with a lower body injury.

It's doubtful Eaves, a 19-goal scorer, will play tonight. Eaves appeared to fall awkwardly into the boards and played only three shifts in the second before leaving the game for good.

No update on his status was available after the game.

It was a frustrating night for Murray, who got in a jawing match with referee Don Koharski late in the second.

Upset that winger Peter Schaefer was tackled in the Montreal zone, Murray voiced his displeasure and was told by Koharski if he didn't shut up, he would get the boot.

At one point, Koharski motioned to Murray to zip his lip and looked like he used his hand to cross his throat. Murray refused to confirm or comment on it, but winger Chris Neil knows what he saw.

"Everybody saw it," said Neil. "You want to talk to the referee about a call he makes and you can't even go near the guy ... Even the captains and the assistant captains weren't able to say anything because he wasn't willing to listen. Everybody was frustrated."

While Aebischer made 37 saves, Senators goalie Ray Emery believed he could have been better.

"I thought it was a playoff-type game, and we played pretty well," said Emery, who was beaten by Zednik, Sheldon Souray and Chris Higgins on 21 shots. "Like I've said before, I've got to come up with some more saves."


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