Members of the Ottawa Senators (in the red jerseys) are involved in a line brawl with Montreal Canadiens players during the third period of Game 3 Sunday night at Scotiabank Place. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
The off-ice war of words between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators turned to action Sunday night.
OTTAWA -- The off-ice war of words between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators turned to action Sunday night.
While the Senators skated away with a 6-1 victory to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarter-final, all the talk afterwards was about the 236 minutes in penalties, including 129 for Montreal and 109 for Ottawa.
A line brawl broke out with 12:56 left on the ice when Ryan White slashed Zack Smith after Kyle Turris gave the Senators a 4-1 lead. Defenceman Jared Cowen gave White a licking while Chris Neil, Matt Kassian and Smith were also engaged.
"We knew we had to prove something. We weren't happy with the way we played and they took it to us with the physicality," said Neil. "We came out ready to play, we came hard, we had great hits. Everyone finishing checks. [This is] what it takes to win.
"I saw Smitty lying on the ice. [Cowen] got to him before I did. Emotions were flying high out there. We stood our ground and did what we had to do."
Canadiens didn't expect line brawl
The Habs weren't expecting fights to break out.
"We didn't start that at all. Maybe a little slash, but nobody expected a line brawl," said Habs' winger Rene Bourque.
By the end, neither team had many players left and Montreal coach Michel Therrien was incensed that Ottawa counterpart Paul MacLean called a timeout with 17 seconds left in a game that was completely out of hand.
"I always believe in letting the players dictate the game. Calling a timeout with 17 seconds left in the game, I never saw that before," said Therrien.
"I mentioned it to the referee and he never saw that before. You never want to humiliate another team as a coach, and this is exactly what happened tonight. As far as I'm concerned, that was classless."
MacLean offered a heated explanation.
"I didn't know what was going to happen next. I felt bad for the referees but they wouldn't let me bring my players back to the bench so I could tell them what I wanted them to do. My only recourse was to take the timeout because I didn't want anyone to get hurt," said MacLean.
"It was already getting dumb enough as it was. I've got two important players on my team. I've got still got games to play. We're not giving them a freebee. There's already enough of that. In order to protect my players, under circumstances that were instigated by the Montreal Canadiens, I was forced to protect my players. I will do that every time."
Lose a tooth, get a win
There will be a lot of toothy grins by the end of this series.
Scoring a hat trick to help lead the Senators turned out to be tough on Gatineau product Jean-Gabriel Pageau. After helping give Ottawa a 2-1 lead in the second, he took a high-stick from P.K. Subban and lost a tooth.
That made him the third player in this series headed for a trip to the dentist in the near future. It started with Craig Anderson when he took a shot off the mast from Rene Bourque in Game 1. Then in Game 2, Carey Price chipped a couple of chompers.
Pageau had to look for his tooth as everybody around him was trying to celebrate his goal at 4:40 of the second.
"I only lost one tooth. I wish I could lose another one if we could win the next game," said Pageau.
It was a special night, the fans were singing "Pageau, Pageau, Pageau" in the rafters in the third.
It was really special. I just want to enjoy it," said Pageau, who was called up from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton last month.
The Senators lost defenceman Patrick Wiercioch with an "upper body" injury in the first. By the end, they didn't have Cowen, either, so Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson took two shifts on the blue-line in the third period.
"I did one period with [Cory] Clouston two or three years ago," said Alfredsson. "Otherwise, it hasn't been in recent years."
Alfredsson was skating with buddy Erik Karlsson as a partner.
"I liked seeing Alfie back there. He's a complete player and skates backwards really, really well," said Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. "He's one of those guys you trust with the puck and you want on the ice."