Montreal, QC – Cory Conacher tallied twice and Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots as the Ottawa Senators finished off the short-handed Montreal Canadiens with a 6-1 victory in Game 5 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal from Bell Centre.
Erik Condra posted a goal and two assists for the Senators, who took the series four games to one and advanced to the second round for the first time since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007.
Kyle Turris, Zack Smith and Daniel Alfredsson also scored as Ottawa posted its first playoff-series win over the Habs since the original Sens won a two-game, total-goals set in 1927.
"Craig gives our team a lot of confidence. Montreal came out hard, like we knew they would. At first, we didn't have a response that I was looking for, but he was sharp and the Habs were tight," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "They missed two good opportunities in the first. Then, we got a couple of goals and we were fortunate to be ahead. Our team finds a way."
P.K. Subban notched the lone score for the Canadiens, who lasted just five games while dealing with the absences of captain Brian Gionta (bicep surgery), forwards Lars Eller (concussion, broken nose), Brandon Prust and Ryan White (upper-body) and starting goaltender Carey Price -- who sustained an unspecified lower-body injury late in Game 4.
Peter Budaj made his first career playoff start and was shelled for all six goals on 29 shots.
"I felt good, prepared well, but the result is very disappointing," said Budaj, who teamed up with Anderson in Colorado several years ago.
Subban's left-point blast caught iron then dropped behind Anderson for a power-play score with 13 seconds left in the opening period, but the hosts failed to click on a pair of advantages in the first seven-plus minutes in the second period.
Colby Armstrong hit the post on a short-handed rush with nine minutes played, and that was the bit of luck Ottawa needed. It led 3-1 with 8:31 on the clock while down a man as Turris was pushed into Budaj and a Condra shot caromed off his body and in.
"It was laying in the crease, Condra had hit him (Turris) and I think it went off him. It was a tough break, because our guys had come back on the power play. Sometimes you get the call, sometimes you don't," added Budaj.
The Senators finished off the Canadiens with three power-play scores in the final period.
Alfredsson's wrister from the right point boosted the visitors into a 4-1 advantage at 6:22 of the third, Conacher beat Budaj at 12:27, then Condra potted a rebound with 3:48 remaining.
"Our penalty killing has been really good throughout the series and our power play has come up big as well. We didn't have a good start, but we found a way to turn it around and get ourselves back in the game," Alfredsson offered.
A raucous Bell Centre crowd was silenced just 2:17 after the opening faceoff, when Smith picked up a Matt Kassian rebound and backhanded it home from the right post.
The visitors extended their lead when Conacher followed up a busted 2-on-1 and potted the loose puck from inside the crease with 7:34 left in the first.
"Anderson was the best player in the series. Always gave them a chance to stay in. We were missing a lot of players, but we still tried to dictate the play early in the game," noted Habs head coach Michel Therrien. "We worked hard, but their two goals deflated our moves."
Anderson stopped 171-of-180 shots in the five-game series ... Kassian and Jean-Gabriel Pageau added two assists each for Ottawa ... As Price's backup this season, Budaj was 8-1-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout in 13 games ... The Senators finished the series outscoring the Canadiens by a 20-9 count ... The Habs last dropped a five-game playoff series in the 2010 Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia Flyers, while the Senators last won a five-game set in the 2007 Eastern finals against Buffalo ... Montreal hasn't beaten Ottawa in a playoff series since topping the original Sens in the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals.