Heatley cools off Habs

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Cory Clouston said it was a gut feeling.

The Montreal Canadiens were left with something unpleasant in the pit of their stomachs. Clouston, the Senators rookie coach, played a hunch last night, throwing together a line of Mike Fisher, Jesse Winchester and Dany Heatley halfway through the third period.

Ottawa was down 2-1 and the Habs and their fans could sense a crucial win in the Canadiens' push to make the playoffs which took on even more urgency last night with word they had lost top defencemen Andrei Markov (three weeks) and Mathieu Schneider (for the rest of the season), according to RDS.

The result of Clouston's juggling was two goals in 38 seconds by Heatley and another come-from-behind win for the Senators, who are becoming quite the speed bump on the road to the playoffs for some clubs.

"It was a little bit of a gut feeling. I just thought they complemented each other," said Clouston of his line juggling. "It doesn't always work, but tonight it did."

The loss was a big blow for the Habs, who burned their game in hand and remained in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the eighth-placed New York Rangers -- who they face in the Big Apple tonight -- and the Florida Panthers.

"We thought we had played pretty well for most of the night. I thought we showed a lot coming back," said Heatley, who now has 37 goals. The Habs had taken the lead when Mathieu Dandenault deflected a Roman Hamrlik shot past Alex Auld with just four seconds left in the second period and that could have been a killer.

But Heatley liked what he saw from his teammates.

"(Winchester) had a couple of faceoff wins and some big hits and Fish made a couple of big plays. It worked for that last seven minutes or so and we won the game."

The Sens improved to 18-10-3 under Clouston and are now 35-34-10 on the season.

The Habs remained stuck on 92 points, three ahead of the Rangers and Panthers and one behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

If they miss the post-season, they'll be thinking about last night's game.

After a scoreless first period, brought about by some good goaltending and some directionless power plays, the Senators finally broke on top on a nice play by youngster Nick Foligno, who continues to give the Senators some fine play. On the power play, he took a pass from Mike Comrie in the corner to the left of Halak and then saucered a pretty little pass out front to defenceman Chris Campoli, who had slipped in from the point.

The Canadiens' Alex Kovalev had tied the game at 12:46 of the second with his 25th of the season --and his eighth goal in seven games.

"All we're trying to do is create some momentum going into the off-season," said Clouston. "Some people questioned this team's character, but as far as character goes, that's the least of my concerns."

The Senators are home to face the Boston Bruins tonight.


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