Carey Price silences doubters as Habs win Game 2

The Montreal Canadiens didn't badly outshoot the Ottawa Senators like Game 1, but three goals and some big saves in the second period buoyed them to a Game 2 win to even up the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

2 goals in 53 seconds leads to Game 2 win, Habs even up first-round series 1-1

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes this save against Ottawa Senators' Sergei Gonchar (not shown) as one of at least three key saves in the second period during Game 2. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

If you're watching this series, you might as well not tune in until the second period, because that's when the action happens.


For complete coverage of the Ottawa Senators playoff run, visit the CBC Ottawa playoff page.

For the second game in a row, the Montreal Canadiens had a quick onslaught in the middle frame scoring twice in 53 seconds to propel themselves to a 3-1 win.

The Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are now tied 1-1 in the Eastern Conference quarter-final series as the teams head to Ottawa for Game 3 Sunday.

It was an impressive performance for the Habs who were missing three key forwards due to upper-body injuries — leading scorer Max Pacioretty, captain Brian Gionta and centre Lars Eller.

Unlike in Game 1, where it was Senators goaltender Craig Anderson who stepped up, the Habs' Carey Price made key saves during an Ottawa push in the second.

Price also lost a tooth during that time, becoming the second goalie in the series to lose a tooth after Anderson did so in Game 1. Coincidentally, the goalie who has lost their tooth has also won the game.

It seems like the "tooth fairy" has a hand in these results.

Key saves lead to 3rd Montreal goal

In all seriousness, after the Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead with that barrage in the second the Sens' Milan Michalek managed to give Ottawa life, deflecting a Chris Phillips point shot past Price.

But unlike Game 1, Price stopped the momentum with some big saves, keeping Montreal in the lead.

Ottawa applied pressure, centred around a much-maligned power-play that finally manufactured some solid scoring chances.

But Price made at least three key saves and soon after, Michael Ryder restored the Habs' two-goal lead before the second period wrapped up.


Visit the Senators/Canadiens series page for all the stats and info you need.

Sens coach Paul MacLean said the struggling power-play was better, but missed opportunities during three first-period chances cost the team.

The penalty kill gave Montreal energy. Early in the second period, Ryan White knocked down an Erik Karlsson pass that slid between Craig Anderson's legs.

Then 53 seconds later Brendan Gallagher scored his second goal of the series into an open net after a nice pass from fellow rookie Alex Galchenyuk fooled Anderson.

Anderson, who made 48 saves Thursday to salvage a win for Ottawa, had little chance on Montreal's three goals.

Game ends eventful Friday

The game capped off an eventful day for both teams.

Lars Eller's absence was the most talked about event after he was knocked out by a devastating hit from Senators' rookie defenceman Eric Gryba during Game 1.

Gryba, who stands six feet five inches, was suspended for two games by the NHL Friday after a phone hearing.

The league deemed the hit an "illegal check to the head" and the head of NHL player safety, Brendan Shanahan, called the check "reckless."

The suspension was a slight sense of satisfaction for fans and the team less than 24 hours after a tough 4-2 loss in Game 1.

While the Habs tried to hide their frustration Thursday, it certainly showed Friday when some began to engage in a war of words after the optional skate.

Habs' forward Brandon Prust and coach Michel Therrien felt Sens' head coach Paul MacLean was insensitive to the injury by defending Gryba.

MacLean also blamed a "suicide" pass from defenceman Raphael Diaz for leading to the check, which left Eller in hospital overnight with a concussion and several fractures to his face and jaw.

Social media jumped on the comment from Prust, who called MacLean a "bug-eyed, fat walrus," and it began to reach the headlines.

But it didn't distract the Habs who were very focused in Game 2, turning those words of frustration into action.

Habs grinders outwork Sens

Michel Therrien credited his veterans Colby Armstrong, Ryan White and Brandon Prust, who led the workmanlike lineup.

The Senators were prepared for a physical affair by dressing Matt Kassian over the slender Cory Conacher. They even inserted Kassian into the starting lineup, but MacLean said his team was outworked.

Andre Benoit also replaced Gryba on the Senators' defence.

For the second game in a row, Sens' coach Paul MacLean switched Kyle Turris and J.P. Pageau to ignite his team. It seemed to work but Ottawa couldn't tie the game or stop three second-period goals by the Habs.

Game 3 goes Sunday in Ottawa.