Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens overcame playing without their leading scorer and the loss of their best defenseman to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in Game 1 of what will surely be an intense and physical first-round series.
Brian Flynn scored the game-winning goal late in the second period for Montreal and added two assists in his playoff debut. Carey Price, a Hart and Vezina Trophy candidate, stopped 30 Ottawa shots.
Max Pacioretty, who led the Canadiens with 37 goals and 67 points this season, didn't play because of an upper-body injury. P.K. Subban was ejected midway through the contest for slashing Ottawa's Mark Stone.
Andrew Hammond, whose 20-1-2 record backed the Sens' improbable late-season run to the playoffs, gave up four goals on 39 shots.
Ottawa will look to even this best-of-seven set on Friday.
The Senators killed a penalty late in the third period, then pulled Hammond for an extra skater with under two minutes remaining. Brandon Prust blocked a shot by Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur to help seal the win.
A skirmish broke out between the players on the ice at the end of the game.
The first good scoring chance belonged to the Canadiens, but Hammond made a blocker save to thwart a breakaway bid from Torrey Mitchell five minutes in.
Less than a minute later, Price was able to kick out a Mike Hoffman redirection with his left pad.
It remained a scoreless affair until a lucky break got the Senators on the board. Milan Michalek dumped the puck from center ice and it caromed off the end boards to Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, who was in the crease, facing Price, and inadvertently tapped the puck through his goaltender's legs with 7:35 remaining in the opening period.
Michalek was back in the Ottawa lineup after missing the final 11 regular- season games with an upper-body injury.
The teams combined for six goals in a wild second period, and Montreal emerged with a 4-3 lead.
Mitchell tied it at the 7:53 mark, beating Hammond on a backhand wraparound.
Tomas Plekanec gave Montreal the lead 15 seconds later. He skated into the left circle, faked a slap shot and fired a wrister past Hammond.
On the ensuing faceoff, Lars Eller clipped the Senators' Mika Zibanejad with the butt end of his stick as the two jostled.
Just nine seconds later, Subban slashed Stone on the right arm. The star defenseman was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Stone left the ice in obvious discomfort, but returned shortly thereafter. He would leave again early in the third period before coming back to the bench.
"I agree it was a slashing penalty. On our standpoint, I don't agree it deserved five minutes," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien.
Ottawa coach Dave Cameron obviously wasn't pleased about the play.
"I think it's quite simple: It's a vicious slash on an unprotected part of the body," said Cameron, who suggested that Subban be suspended.
Ottawa had only a 4-on-3 power play because Kyle Turris picked up two minutes for roughing. Turris exited the penalty box to make it 5-on-4 and tied it on the man advantage at 10:36.
A miscue with the puck by Cody Ceci at the Montreal blueline, triggered a short-handed rush by the Canadiens. Flynn fed the puck to Eller, who beat Hammond on a breakaway at 11:42.
Still on the power play, Ottawa tied it at 3-3 at 12:36 when Zibanejad buried a rebound past Price.
The Canadiens were able to move back in front prior to the second intermission. Flynn took a feed from Prust, skated out of the left corner and stuffed the puck in off the right post with 2:43 remaining.
The Canadiens were eliminated by the Senators in five games in the first round of the 2013 playoffs ... Montreal's two goals in 15 seconds were the fastest two goals in a playoff game in franchise history since Turner Stevenson and Vincent Damphousse scored 10 seconds apart against Buffalo on May 8, 1998 ... Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch both had two assists for Ottawa.