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Habs, Sens fight for series lead in Game 3
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try for a second straight win in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when the best-of-seven series shifts to Ottawa for Sunday's Game 3 clash at Scotiabank Place.
The second-seeded Canadiens dropped a 4-2 decision to the Senators in Thursday's opener in Montreal, but the Habs rebounded with a 3-1 triumph in Friday's Game 2 to even the series at one win apiece.
Ottawa, meanwhile, hopes it can regain the upper hand in the series on home ice. The Senators, who will also host Game 4 on Tuesday, had a stellar 15-6-3 record at home during the regular season compared to a 10-11-3 mark on the road.
All four goals in Friday's game in Montreal came in the second period, with Ryan White and Brendan Gallagher scoring in a 53-second span early in the stanza to provide the Canadiens with all the offense it would need.
Michael Ryder also lit the lamp in the middle frame for the Canadiens, who evened this best-of-seven set despite the absences of captain Brian Gionta along with forwards Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty due to upper-body injuries.
Eller was kept overnight for observation at a local hospital but released Friday morning after absorbing an illegal hit to the head from Sens defenseman Eric Gryba during Thursday's series opener. Gryba was given a two-game suspension by the league prior to the contest and will serve the final part of that ban tonight.
Gionta and Pacioretty are dealing with upper-body injuries, but both players made the trip to Ottawa and are questionable for Game 3. Eller is out indefinitely with a concussion and facial fractures.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price helped make up for the missing pieces as he rebounded from a shaky performance in Game 1 by making 29 saves. Price lost two of his bottom teeth in a goalmouth collision during the second period, but did not miss any game action.
"With Lars and others out, it was a total team effort," Price said. "We came out fighting, as the stats will show. We outhit them and it paid off. The pressure was on us but we all came through."
White put the Habs on the board at 3:20 of the second, when he poked at a failed clear by Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson deep in the Ottawa zone and the puck slid through Anderson's pads. The fluke tally was his first career postseason marker.
"It was just a chance thing. I intercepted the pass, and decided to slide it through the goalie's pads," White said of his milestone.
Gallagher's tap-in off an Alex Galchenyuk feed from the right side made it 2-0 just 53 seconds later.
Milan Michalek notched the lone score for the Senators, while Craig Anderson halted 31 shots in defeat.
"They played harder than we did. We turned pucks over that ended in our net. Any time you hear that, it's a recipe for disaster," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "Our power play was working better, but we got no results, especially in the first."
The Senators and Canadiens split four meetings during the season series, with each club winning two games on home ice.
Montreal was 15-7-2 on the road during the regular season.
05/05 11:07:08 ET
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