MONTREAL - Jason Spezza scored two goals and Martin Gerber stopped 28 shots for his second shutout, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Spezza scored on a power play in the first period before reaching 30 goals for the second straight season with his second of the game early in the second.
Antoine Vermette also scored for Ottawa, which won its third in a row to draw even with Montreal with 87 points.
The Senators took over the Northeast Division lead by virtue of their 40th win, one more than the Canadiens. Both teams have 10 games remaining.
Tempers flared with 1:17 remaining in the third after Montreal's Andrei Kostitsyn checked Chris Kelly in the left corner behind the Senators net. Ottawa's Christoph Schubert got the only penalty on the play, a roughing minor after he grabbed Canadiens captain Saku Koivu from behind.
Gerber recorded his ninth career shutout, his first since he turned aside 35 shots in a 2-0 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 6 in Ottawa's third game of the season.
Cory Stillman assisted on both of Spezza's goals.
Carey Price made 21 saves for Montreal, which has two games left with the Senators.
Ottawa has won five of six against the Canadiens this season, including a 6-1 home victory on Feb. 9 in which Spezza recorded his first career hat trick.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson assisted on Spezza's opening goal 8:21 in as he returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a back injury. Spezza was at the edge of the crease when he deflected Stillman's shot past Price.
The Senators' playmaking centre made it 2-0 when he scored 27 seconds into the middle period on a play that required a video review.
Spezza was behind the goal line when he batted a puck out of the air and off Price into the net. Replay officials confirmed that Spezza's stick didn't make contact with the puck above the height of the crossbar.
Vermette added to Ottawa's lead with his 17th goal late in the second. The speedy left winger pounced on a rebound of Kelly's shot to beat Price for his 17th goal.