The Montreal Canadiens will try to bounce back from a loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, as they host the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators in Game 2 at the Bell Centre.
These clubs opened this best-of-seven series Thursday in Montreal and Ottawa recorded a 4-2 decision over the Northeast Division champions. The Canadiens will try to avoid falling into an 0-2 series' hole on Friday before the venue shifts to Ottawa's Scotiabank Place for Games 3 and 4.
Jakob Silfverberg and Marc Methot scored in a 1:53 span early in the third period and Craig Anderson stopped a season-high 48 shots to help the Senators record Thursday's road win.
Ottawa trailed 2-1 heading into the third period before scoring three unanswered goals over the final 20 minutes.
"The third period I liked. The second wasn't something I'd be fond of. They dominated us, but he (Anderson) has been there for us lots of times," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "Our goaltender gave us the chance to win. The 5-on-3 late in the second, our penalty killers all contributed. It gave us energy coming into the third."
Erik Karlsson and Guillaume Latendresse also lit the lamp, while Mika Zibanejad added a pair of assists for the Senators, who are trying to make it out of the first round for the first time since 2007 when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ottawa failed to score on both of its opportunities with the man advantage, while the Habs were 1-for-5 on the power play.
Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher scored 59 seconds apart in the second period for the second-seeded Canadiens, who lost the game and forward Lars Eller to a head injury late in the second period on a hard hit from Sens defenseman Eric Gryba.
"We had 50 shots on goal and attacked their net the whole game. I'm pleased with the way we played," noted Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien. "Anderson was there to stop almost everything. The only reason we lost was because of their goaltender. I couldn't ask for a better game from my team."
Montreal set a franchise playoff record with 27 shots on goal in the second period alone.
Carey Price surrendered all four goals on 31 shots in the loss, falling to 8-16 in 27 career postseason games.
Silfverberg's first career playoff goal knotted the game with 3:27 played in the third, then Ottawa led 3-2 with 5:20 played when Price couldn't snare a rising Methot point drive.
The Habs then had a goal waved off with 8:06 remaining, as forward Brandon Prust's stick impeded Anderson's ability to stop a shot from the right-wing boards.
It was 4-2 for the visitors with 6:05 to play. Price turned away a blistering Silfverberg shot from the point, but the rebound caromed off the body of an onrushing Latendresse and into the net. A review confirmed there was no illegal action related to the score.
Price was pulled for an extra skater inside of a minute left, to no avail.
The scary injury to Eller happened in the second period when Gryba delivered a high, blindside check on the Danish winger. Eller left the game on a stretcher and reportedly lost several teeth in addition to suffering a broken nose and other facial fractures. Gryba was given a major for interference and a game misconduct for the controversial hit.
"I had my shoulder down when he (Eller) received the puck. It's just one of those plays at the blue line," Gryba said in his defense. "I'm not out to hurt anybody. There was no point in arguing with the refs when they came to the box. They made up their minds and told me I was gone."
Gryba is scheduled to have a disciplinary hearing over the phone on Friday, as the league decides whether or not the defenseman will face a suspension.
Eller's status for the remainder of this series is unknown, but he will miss Game 2.
The Senators and Canadiens split four meetings during the season series, with each club winning two games on home ice.
Montreal was 14-7-3 as the host during the regular season, while the Sens were 10-11-3 on the road.
Game 3 of this series is set for Sunday in Ottawa.