Sens get away with sloppy win

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Martin Gerber was a bust for the Senators last season.

Now, it's Gerber or bust.

Only hours after Ottawa goaltender learned he'll make the start in the opener against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday in Toronto, Gerber made 35 stops as Patrick Eaves scored the winner in a 5-4 OT victory over the Canadiens.

"We want to make winning a habit and that's a good victory for us," Eaves said of Ottawa's 6-0 record in the pre-season.

Senators coach John Paddock had a much different take.

"We were completely outplayed and outworked," said Paddock. "We didn't deserve to win the hockey game, that's for sure. We were never in position. We didn't work to come back. We were poor."

"(Gerber) was pretty darn good," added the coach. "He made some good saves."

HAT TRICK FOR ALFIE

After Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson completed a pre-season hat trick, the Senators blew a two-goal lead on last-minute goals by Montreal's Andrei Kostsitsyn and Mark Streit.

On the power play in OT, Alfredsson set Eaves up with the winner at 4:28 when Eaves beat rookie Carey Price.

While Alfredsson led the way, winger Dany Heatley had a two-point night and centre Jason Spezza scored as the Senators' top players continued to fire on all cylinders with the start of the regular season only three days away.

The Senators will play their final pre-season game tonight against in Washington, but for all intents and purposes, the lineup will mostly be made up of players who are going to get tickets to Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton on cutdown day tomorrow.

Gerber looked good early on, but some rough patches, too. He was fortunate the Habs hit a couple of posts in the first.

FISHER MAKES DEBUT

Meanwhile, Paddock was happy to see centre Mike Fisher make his exhibition debut. As expected, Fisher played between Alfredsson and Antoine Vermette.

That's likely the way they'll start the season.

"It's good to get an exhibition game in to get ready for the season," said Fisher. "I feel good and I feel ready to go."

The Senators looked like they were just trying to get out of the game without any more injuries before they face the Leafs and that may explain why the club was badly outshot.

Montreal left captain Saku Koivu, winger Alexei Kovalev and defenceman Andrei Markov at home.

As for the Senators, the only player not expected to start the year with Ottawa who was in the lineup was winger Denis Hamel.

As usual, Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza carried the offensive load. Alfredsson scored his second of the night at 12:52 of the second when he tipped a shot by defenceman Christoph Schubert by Montreal's Cristobal Huet on the glove side.

That gave the Senators a 3-1 lead which was their second two-goal lead of the game. But, they couldn't hold it. Earlier, Spezza had given the club a 2-0 lead on the power play at 19:31 of the first and it was Alfredsson who opened the scoring at 17:53.

PENDING REVIEW: The Flyers sent suspended F Steve Downie to their AHL affiliate across the street in Philly yesterday and plan to recall him on NHL game days to serve his 20-game banishment. He won't necessarily be able to play in the minors either. AHL spokesman Jason Chaimovitch told the Sun last night in an e-mail that under AHL rules, Downie is "ineligible pending an independent review of the matter."


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