The curse of Dryden

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The red banner with the white 29 on it hung directly over the Senators net in the second period last night.

It carried Ken Dryden's name on it and maybe, on the night he had his number retired, some of the magic the Hall of Fame goaltender enjoyed on those magnificent Canadiens teams of the 1970s dripped down to these new Habs.

Lord knows they need whatever help they can get these days.

After a late start to the game (delayed for almost 90 minutes by the Dryden ceremony) and a slow start for the home side, the Habs struck for three quick goals under Dryden's banner for a 3-1 win over the Senators at the Bell Centre.

JUMP BACK INTO FOURTH

The win allowed the reeling Habs to jump over the Senators into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

After the game, the Senators boarded their bus for the trip back to Ottawa where they will host the Capitals tonight.

They couldn't have been a happy bunch after being told the game would start at 8:30 p.m. and seeing the Dryden ceremony stretch on for an additional 23 minutes, further shortening their turnaround time for tonight's game.

The loss was just the Senators' second in their last nine games and they'll just have to regroup for tonight.

As Senators coach Bryan Murray predicted yesterday morning, special teams would be the key last night.

Canadiens defenceman Sheldon Souray, who had ripped his teammates for their lack of passion after Saturday night's embarrassment at the hands of the Leafs in Toronto, stepped up and got his team rolling in the second with a power-play goal.

"These guys don't have the passion, the flavour or the bite to be better," he said. "There's definitely guys who need a wakeup call."

CROWD AWAKENS

He delivered it last night, adding to his franchise-record with his 14th power-play goal of the season, ripping a 40-footer by Senators goaltender Ray Emery on the glove side at 10:55 of the second.

The Senators' penalty killing had been excellent recently, too, allowing just two goals in 36 attempts before the Souray goal.

It was the first of three goals in three minutes and 24 seconds on three straight shots, awakening a Bell Centre which had dozed off after Dryden's long ceremony and a goal by Ottawa's Chris Phillips that gave the Senators a 1-0 lead just 52 seconds into the game.

Hab Mark Streit got behind Ottawa defenceman Joe "Uh-oh" Corvo and slipped one between Emery's pads at 12:01 and Tomas Plekanec scored with the Canadiens short-handed at 13:19, cutting between Tom Preissing and Wade Redden and beating Emery with a backhand to the top corner.

CRAMMED ON BENCH

The Senators probably had an advantage after the start of the game was delayed almost 90 minutes for the Dryden ceremony.

The Canadiens were crammed into their bench, each wearing one of Dryden's red number 29's, for the banner-raising ceremony.

The Senators were back in their dressing room, free to play their usual warmup game of soccer or ride the stationary bikes to get loosened up.

That's the way it played out, anyway, as the Senators struck less than a minute into the game, a 60-foot wrister by Phillips appearing to glance off a Montreal defender and behind Aebischer.

With the Senators down by two in the third, Murray had centre Jason Spezza back between wingers Dany Heatley and captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Spezza made a great move to get around Souray at the 11-minute mark, but had Aebischer rob him with the glove, right under Dryden's banner.


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