Ray beats 'hated Habs'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Senators won The Battle of the Unbeaten last night.

After ruining the Montreal Canadiens' home-opener, backup goalie Ray Emery wore a wide smile following a 4-2 victory in front of 21,273 spectators at the Bell Centre.

Backed by Emery's 27 saves and two goals by captain Daniel Alfredsson, the Senators are the only Eastern team with an unbeaten record after winning their fourth straight. Antoine Vermette and Zdeno Chara also scored for Ottawa.

"I said before the game that I always hated the Habs as a kid growing up and everybody in my house cheered for the Maple Leafs," said Emery, who is from Hamilton. "This is a special win ... especially with the history here.

"I was a little nervous. This was a big game for me. I'm glad that we're unbeaten, but I know that three of those wins have been with the big guy (Dominik Hasek) in the net. I just have to make the best of my chances."

Emery looked solid and confident.

"The plan for him is to play (30 games), but he could push to get more of if he plays like that," said Senators coach Bryan Murray.

This was not the Senators' best performance of the season, but it was enough to get the job done -- especially in the third period when they took control.

Vermette scored the winner at 2:28 of the third, then old friend Radek Bonk took an ill-timed double- minor for high-sticking Peter Schaefer which allowed Alfredsson to put it away on the power play.

"No, I'm not going to say anything (to Bonk)," said Alfredsson.

That's because the scoreboard spoke volumes.

Alfredsson's short-handed effort, which tied it 2-2 at 18:55 of the second, turned the tide for the Senators, who had struggled after failing to score on Montreal goalie Jose Theodore on a 5-on-3 opportunity earlier.

"That short-handed goal really gave us a lot of momentum," said Alfredsson. "We went into the third and we knew that we could build off that. "

Steve Begin, shorthanded, and Saku Koivu scored for the Habs.

It might be early, but the Senators are happy to be sitting with an unbeaten record.

"It's a lot better than losing," said defenceman Chris Phillips, who fired the shot that allowed Vermette to score the winner. "What's impressive is the teams that we've beaten. Toronto, twice. Buffalo and now Montreal. All these teams are in our division. These points are going to count for a lot at the end. You are better off to build up these wins now."


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