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Published September 19, 2015
Craig Anderson made 48 saves in a spectacular goaltending performance as the Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 Thursday night in Game 1 of their playoff series.
Jakob Silfverberg and Marc Methot scored early in the third period and gave Ottawa a lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 2 set for Friday night at the Bell Centre.
Erik Karlsson and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for the Senators, who were outshot 50-31 but saw Anderson easily win the goaltending duel with Carey Price, who was beaten twice through the pads.
Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher replied for Montreal, which set a team record for shots in a regulation-time playoff game.
The first playoff series between the Northeast Division rivals didn't take long to get nasty.
Montreal center Lars Eller was wheeled off on a stretcher bleeding heavily from the nose and was taken to a hospital with what the team said were head and facial injuries after he was caught with a shoulder to the face on an open-ice hit from Senators defenseman Eric Gryba.
Gryba was given an interference major and a game misconduct and could face further discipline from the NHL.
Anderson was especially sharp as the Senators weathered a fierce Canadiens push in the first 10 minutes before Karlsson put on a show for the opening goal at 17:25.
The 2012 Norris Trophy winner skated through the neutral zone and worked a give- and-go with Kyle Turris, redirecting the return pass along the ice between Price's pads.
Montreal fired 27 shots in the middle period, a team playoff record, and tied the game. Bourque came out from behind the net and beat Anderson with a backhander under the crossbar on Montreal's 34th shot.
After Gryba's hit and with Ottawa down a man, Gallagher banged in Tomas Plekanec's pass to put Montreal in the lead.
But the Senators killed off the rest of the penalty and trailed just 2-1 after two period as Anderson kept it close.
Then Silfverberg tied the game with a shot from the top of the right circle that went straight through Price's pads early in the third. period. Less than two minutes later, Methot swept a shot from the point through traffic that caught the top corner.
Latendresse, a former Canadiens player who was booed by the Bell Centre crowd, went to the net and saw Silfverberg's shot go in off his body to ice the victory.
NOTES: The Canadiens are 50-28-2 all-time in playoff openers. Ottawa is 11-11. ... Montreal sat out Jeff Halpern, Colby Armstrong, Davis Drewiske and Yannick Weber. ... Peter Regin, Matt Kassian, Patrick Wiercioch and Andre Benoit were among Ottawa's scratches. ... The game was the first between Canadian teams in the playoffs since 2004.