Emery a showstopper

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

On a night when the Montreal Canadiens' defence was stripped down to its bare bones, it was the Senators who streaked.

The streaks kept alive with last night's 4-0 win over the under-manned Habs in front of a Corel Centre record crowd of 19,858:

- Goaltender Ray Emery set an NHL record with his ninth-straight win to start his big-league career and he did it in style: With his first NHL shutout. Emery bettered the mark set by Bob Froese, who rattled off eight straight wins when he started his career with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1982-83.

- Winger Dany Heatley moved to within a game of Wayne Gretzky's record for a scoring streak with a new club, picking up an assist on Jason Spezza's first-period power-play goal. Heatley now has a point in all 22 Senators games he's played, racking up 17 goals and 21 assists. Gretzky had points in his first 23 games after joining the Los Angeles Kings for the 1988-89 season.

- The win was the Senators' sixth straight, tying their season-long mark and moving them to a league-best 19-3.

It wasn't all good news, though, as Ottawa winger Martin Havlat left the game in the third period with a dislocated right shoulder after being checked by Montreal winger Michael Ryder and falling into the boards.

Senators coach Bryan Murray speculated Havlat could be lost to the team for a month -- maybe more.

"I'm not a doctor and I don't know the extent of it, but normally it's a fair amount of time," said Murray.

Havlat is due to have an MRI to assess the extent of the damage today.

The Habs started out last night short on manpower as they were forced to dress just 19 players for the game.

Defenceman Ray Hainsey, who would have been their 20th player, was called up from the minors, but was claimed on waivers at noon by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Habs were trying to fill out a decimated blue line that was without Andrei Markov (suspension), Sheldon Souray (groin injury) and Mike Komisarek (personal leave). Jean-Phillipe Cote made his NHL debut.

For much of the night, it was a game in which the Senators looked like they were doing just enough to win and the Habs were doing just enough to keep from getting blown out.

Emery, who stopped 27 shots, was good when he had to be, especially early in the second when it was still 1-0, to earn the NHL mark.

"I think I had (Froese's) hockey card when I was a kid," said Emery. "I knew he played for the Flyers. I didn't know what he was all about, but some of the reporters told me about him. It's cool to have my name in the book."

The win allowed the Senators to open up a six-point margin over the Habs atop the Northeast Division standings. The Senators also hold three games in hand.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, whose 20th goal of the season made it 2-0 early in the second period, was happy to see Emery get both the record and the shutout.

"He's worked really hard in practice and it's good to see him rewarded," said Alfredsson.

Spezza opened the scoring on the power play at 8:39 of the first as he walked in unchecked from the boards and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore.

Murray said the Senators were wary of the wounded Canadiens.

"You're always afraid of teams that are shorthanded. That's when guys who don't usually get a chance to play rise to the occasion. It happened to us last week with three guys out."

The Senators could face that situation again with Havlat out.

Havlat and Fisher also scored for Ottawa, which faces the Bruins in Boston tomorrow night.


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