One for the scrap book

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

MONTREAL -- He's still two behind Patrick Lalime and one behind Jani Hurme.

For a minute though last night, it looked like Ray Emery was going to be the third Senators goaltender to drop 'em and go.

Given Emery's reputation as a pugilist, it would have been the most anticipated debut if he had shaken off his blocker (as he appeared to be doing) and taken on Montreal forward Maxim Lapierre after the Hab had crashed into Emery in the second period.

Emery, who had been jawing with the officials about the crease crashing before that, almost took things into his own hands.

He swatted Lapierre across the face with his stick and was shaking his blocker off when the referee intervened.

CHASING LALIME

Lalime scrapped twice, against Boston's Byron Dafoe and Philly's Robert Esche, and Hurme had that memorable tussle with L.A.'s Felix Potvin in Dec., 2001 (remember when Hurme stuck his glove hand into the Ottawa bench for his teammates to pull his glove off?)

Emery would have been the first Senators goaltender to scrap with anybody but the other team's goaltender.

HEAR AND THERE: With seven of eight polls reporting, The Cheapseats Election Desk is declaring Sens-Habs as the Senators' new best rivalry ... He's a fourth liner in the minds of a lot of people, but don't underestimate what Steve Begin means to the Habs. He was out for 27 games with a back injury, but returned last night. He scored a goal to make it 2-1 and get the Habs back in the game had a couple of huge shot blocks while penalty killing before that. "He's always been a sparkplug," said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau. "He always comes to play 60 minutes. We need somebody to light a fire and he's done that..."

THE BUZZ: Habs defenceman Mike Komisarek, who has a habit of getting under the Senators' skin and looks like he will be one of the central figures when these teams meet, leveled Ottawa's Chris Neil behind the Montreal net in the first minute with a huge hit. Neil, who's been in his fair share of collisions this year, just dusted himself off ... That wasn't the case late in the second when Komisarek and Neil finally dropped their gloves in what turned out to be a wonderfully edgy game... Former Senator/Hab Joe Juneau was in the house yesterday morning, shepherding a group of Nunavut peewee players he coaches.They were getting a tour of the Bell Centre (spiffy red Canadiens hats and a new stick, included) and they'll be playing in the big peewee tournament in Quebec City.

REVELATIONS: The Canadiens had a sellout again last night (21,273 at the Bell Centre) which means they have sold out all their games here since the lockout. One of the interesting tidbits that came out of the meeting between the NHL Players Association and agents the other day is the six Canadian teams in the 30-team NHL are responsible for one-third of the league's revenue. It's an interesting situation. As the Canadian teams bring in more revenue, the salary cap keeps going up and, in the end, that might make it more difficult for some of the Canadian teams to compete.

SPECULATIONS: That was a nice pass by Ottawa's Antoine Vermette and a good shot by Mike Comrie, but there is just no way that puck should get by Montreal goaltender David Aebischer for the first goal last night. For the record, Comrie's unscreened shot went through Aebischer's legs from 33 feet ... Senators coach Bryan Murray is right when he says Vermette plays his best hockey alongside Chris Kelly.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: Some in Ottawa like to complain about all the Leafs and Habs fans in Scotiabank Place when those teams play there, but the Senators were pretty fairly represented at the Bell Centre last night. The Ottawa crowd included a 16-person contingent from The Oak in the Glebe celebrating Adam Wilson's birthday. Not a bad way to spend your 30th, huh? ... When Jason Spezza made it 5-2 in the third, the Ottawans in section 405 started chanting "Pizza, pizza!" ... The struggles of Saku Koivu, Sergei Samsonov and Chris Higgins make it sound like offence is the Habs' problem, but the fact is their goaltending hasn't been even average since Christmas. Aebischer's work last night was Exhibit A.

JUST WONDERING: Think you had a bad night at work? Canadiens defenceman Janne Niinimaa played 66 seconds in the first period (four shifts) and was minus-2.

PARTING SHOT: Samsonov was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three games and said he was "confused," about the situation, according to one report. Sergei, the phone's for you, it's reality calling. You are being paid $3.535 million US this year and next and you have seven goals in 52 games. What's to be confused about? You're paid to score goals and when you don't, you're not much use.


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