Montreal, QC – 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 as the Ottawa Senators took a 4-2 decision over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal from Bell Centre.
Erik Karlsson and Guillaume Latendresse also lit the lamp, while Mika Zibanejad added a pair of assists for the Senators, who face their Canadian rivals in the postseason for the first time since 1927.
"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."
Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher scored 59 seconds apart in the second period for the 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."
Carey Price surrendered all four goals on 31 shots in the loss, but Montreal has a chance to square the series in Game 2 on home ice Friday.
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 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 an inauspicious omen.
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.
Despite pressure from the hosts from the drop of the puck, the Senators notched the game's first goal with 2:35 remaining in the opening period.
Karlsson weaved his way up ice from the right wing to the left, then dished for Kyle Turris at the Montreal blue line before tipping Turris' shot between Price's pads from the slot.
Anderson closed off the five hole on a Bourque chance following a Habs power play early in the second, then made three more stops on Montreal's second advantage.
The Canadiens had two more opportunities on an Ottawa power play, but finally broke through on their 34th shot of the contest when Bourque lifted a backhander under the crossbar from Anderson's left with 6:51 on the second- period clock.
Gryba was then given a major for interference and a game misconduct for his high, blindside check on Eller just 19 seconds later. The Danish winger left the game on a stretcher and reportedly lost several teeth in addition to suffering a broken nose and other facial fractures.
"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."
It took only 40 seconds for the hosts to take the lead, as Gallagher deflected a cross-crease pass from Tomas Plekanec at the left post. Ottawa managed to limit the damage, including 81 seconds of a two-man disadvantage after rookie forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau was sent off for tripping.
"The 5-on-3 gave us the momentum, and it would have been nice to get a second goal," admitted Habs captain Brian Gionta. "We got away from our game in the third, but we have to continue the pressure and the work down low.
Anderson's previous high in saves was 42, in a 2-0 shutout of Buffalo on Feb. 12 ... Montreal set a franchise playoff record with 27 shots on goal in the second period ... Coming into the contest, Gionta had tallied the most career playoff points amongst the Habs' current roster with 31 goals and 60 points in 93 postseason appearances ... The Senators scratched center Jason Spezza and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, while the Canadiens played without defenseman Davis Drewiske ... Ottawa won a two-game, total- goals series by a 5-1 total back in the clubs' last playoff matchup ... The Canadiens haven't recorded a playoff win against the Senators since 1924 .. Actors Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman were two of the 21,273 in attendance.