The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators will renew hostilities on Tuesday, as the Sens host the Habs in Game 4 of a spirited Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup.
The Senators and Canadiens entered Sunday's Game 3 tied at one win apiece in this best-of-seven set, but Ottawa clobbered second-seeded Montreal by a 6-1 score in a fight-filled contest that saw the teams combine for 236 penalty minutes.
Kyle Turris scored seven minutes into the third period to make it 4-1 Ottawa and on the ensuing faceoff a line brawl broke out among all 10 skaters on the ice. When the dust settled, a total of eight players involved in those fights were given game misconducts.
"I haven't seen that in a long time in the National Hockey League. But that's hockey, stuff happens," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "I thought we reacted well under the circumstances and the duress that we were put under and we defended ourselves."
After the game, both head coaches expressed distaste for each other's tactics and Montreal's Michel Therrien took umbrage with MacLean's decision to call a timeout with 18 seconds left in the third period
"You never want to humiliate the other team, and that's exactly what MacLean wanted to do. To me, it was a total lack of class," Therrien said. "Even when I said that to the referee, he said he'd never seen a timeout with 17 seconds to go. It was 6-1."
However, MacLean claimed he was only trying to get the right players on the ice in case another brawl broke out.
"My only recourse was to take the timeout because I didn't want anyone to get hurt," said MacLean. "In order to protect my players under circumstance that were instigated by the Montreal Canadiens, I was forced to protect my players. I will do that every time."
MacLean was informed of Therrien's accusation that he called the timeout to "humiliate" the Canadiens, and Ottawa's bench boss shot right back.
"I think they were doing a pretty good job of that themselves," he said. "They didn't need my help at all."
The Senators were 3-for-10 on the power play, while Montreal went 1-for-6.
Senators rookie Jean-Gabriel Pageau had his stellar Game 3 performance overshadowed by the rough stuff. Pageau scored his first three career playoff goals to help lead the way in the rout at Scotiabank Place. It was the first hat trick in the playoffs by an Ottawa player since Daniel Alfredsson did it in 1998.
Alfredsson had a goal and two assists for the seventh-seeded Senators, who will try to push Montreal to the brink of elimination with a win in Game 4.
Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar each had two helpers in the lopsided win, while Craig Anderson made 33 saves.
Meanwhile, Carey Price surrendered all six Ottawa goals on 30 shots and Rene Bourque had the lone goal for the Habs, who had forwards Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty back in the lineup after sitting out Game 2 with upper-body injuries.
Ottawa defenseman Patrick Wiercioch suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. He is not expected to play tonight. However, fellow defenseman Eric Gryba is eligible to return on Tuesday after serving a two- game suspension for his Game 1 hit on Montreal forward Lars Eller, who is out indefinitely.
Montreal, which will host Game 5 of this series on Thursday, was 15-7-2 on the road during the regular season.
The Senators had a superb 15-6-3 record at home during this season compared to a 10-11-3 mark on the road.
Ottawa and the Canadiens split four meetings during the season series, with each club winning two games on home ice.