Ottawa Senators defenceman Eric Gryba (62) is ejected from the game after a hit to Montreal Canadiens centre Lars Eller, not pictured, during the second period Thursday night at the Bell Centre. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
Eric Gryba didn't run and hide. The Ottawa Senators defenceman will have a date with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Friday after he was thrown out of the club's 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 Thursday because of a controversial hit on Lars Eller.
MONTREAL -- Eric Gryba didn't run and hide.
The Ottawa Senators defenceman will have a date with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Friday after he was thrown out of the club's 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 Thursday because of a controversial hit on Lars Eller.
While Eller was taken off the ice on a stretcher, the debate started on whether the Senators' rookie got his shoulder up and intentionally hit the Montreal winger in the head.
Gryba faced the media afterwards.
"I stepped up to make a hit and I kept my shoulder down. He received the puck. I saw the replay," said Gryba. "My elbow was down. There was no intent to hurt him whatsoever and I hope he's going to be okay.
"I'm not out here to hurt anybody. It's never a good scene or anything like that. Hopefully, he'll have a full and speedy recovery. There was no conversation with the referees. I went to the box and they told me I was gone. There was no point arguing or anything like that."
The Canadiens were incensed after the hit but coach Michel Therrien wouldn't get involved in the debate.
"I'm not going to comment. Don't ask me about it," said Therrien.
Habs' winger Rene Bourque didn't mind giving his two cents.
"Everyone saw it happen. Obviously we're close with him and he's part of our family," said Bourque. "It was just an ugly sight. We hope he's all right.
"That's a dirty hit. Not much you can do about it."
Habs defenceman Raphael Diaz was upset because he delivered the pass to Eller before he got nailed by Gryba.
"Of course you don't want to make passes like that," said Diaz. "I just saw it was open. If I see the guy coming I never [make that] pass. It's not fun when you see a teammate like that."
Therrien said Diaz should be absolved of any blame.
The Senators have relied on Craig Anderson all season, why would it be any different in the playoffs?
If not for the Ottawa goalie, the Senators would not have had a chance to get a win in Game 1 of this series.
He made 48 stops -- 25 in the second period alone -- and frustrated the Habs.
"He was the difference in the game. As far as I'm concerned he was the story of the game," said Therrien.
Anderson, who lost a tooth after taking a shot to the mask from Bourque in the second, said he was happy to get the win.
"I just wanted to give the team a chance to win. That's any goalie's job at the end of the night," said Anderson. "That's all you can ask for yourself. When you start trying to do too much that's when it can go sideways. My job is just to stop the next shot. It doesn't matter what the clock says or what the score is."
Defenceman Marc Methot, who scored the winner in the third, said the performance was typical of Anderson.
"Andy, what can you say? I've been saying it since the start of the season. He's great for us. He's a machine back there, he just keeps going and going," said Methot.
No rest for the weary
The Habs won't have much recovery time from this loss.
They have to go back to work Friday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) in Game 2 to get a victory. Otherwise, they'll head back to Scotiabank Place with the unenviable task of trying to erase a 2-0 deficit.
"I can't ask for a better game from the team. We got 50 shots on net. It doesn't happen very often that you get 50 shots in the playoffs," said Therrien.
The Senators say they won't be satisfied with just one win in Montreal and there is no danger the club will rest on its laurels.
"We're definitely going to try to be hungry because they're going to come with their best effort," said captain Daniel Alfredsson.
"We're going to have to push ourselves. We're really happy to win the first one, but tomorrow is a big game for us."
Toronto Maple Leafs GM David Nonis announced prior to Wedneseday's NHL roster freeze at midnight ET that the team would be keeping defenceman Morgan Rielly rather than loaning him to Team Canada for the upcoming world junior hockey championship.
Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals will have a telephone hearing Thursday with the NHL for his hit from behind that sent Philadephia forward Brayden Schenn's head smashing into the boards at an awkward angle on Tuesday night.