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Canadiens down Senators in Game 1, Subban ejected

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com

MONTREAL -- It was quite a 30 seconds for P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens.

Forward Brian Flynn had a goal and two assists in his first Stanley Cup Playoff game, and Montreal overcame Subban's game misconduct in the second period for a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Bell Centre on Wednesday.

Torrey Mitchell and Tomas Plekanec scored 15 seconds apart to give Montreal a 2-1 lead at 8:08 of the second. Subban assisted on each goal before he was ejected at 8:23 for slashing Ottawa forward Mark Stone on the right arm and was assessed a major penalty.

Lars Eller scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 11:42 between Ottawa power-play goals by Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad during Subban's major penalty, which was served by PA Parenteau.

"That was big," said Flynn, who made a pass from his knees to set up Eller's goal. "We traded goals. We responded a couple of times after they had scored, and obviously that five-minute power play was a tough momentum swing, but being able to get one shorthanded kind of nullified that a little bit."

Flynn, who assisted on Mitchell's goal, got his third point of the second at 17:17 when he scored to give the Canadiens' their third one-goal lead of the period. The goal ended up being the game-winner.

"Our line played really well and we just sort of fed off each other and kept things simple, used our speed," said Mitchell, a native of Greenfield Park, Quebec. "Obviously, getting a goal in the playoffs for my hometown team felt pretty good."

Montreal goalie Carey Price, who led the NHL in wins, goals-against average and save percentage, made 30 saves in what many had billed a showdown between the League's top goalie and its hottest goalie, Andrew Hammond.

Hammond, who made 35 saves, went 20-1-2 down the stretch during Ottawa's improbable 21-3-3 run to clinch a playoff berth. He expects that the Senators will produce a better effort during the best-of-7 series.

"Absolutely. You look at those chances in the second period, and it [wasn't] so much them maybe earning it," Hammond said. "I thought we gave them too much time and space. They're a good team. They're going to create things when you do that. If we do better limiting their time and getting bodies between them and the net, I think we'll do a much better job in the rest of the series."

Milan Michalek got credit for giving Ottawa a 1-0 lead at 12:25 of the first period after Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov directed the puck toward Price and between his pads.

"It doesn't matter; it doesn't matter at all," Price said. "It's over. We won the game."

The Senators and Canadiens combined for six goals in the second period.

Mitchell tied it 1-1 at 7:53 when he chased down a rebound of Flynn's shot behind the Ottawa goal and put a wraparound inside the right post off Hammond's left skate.

Bell Centre public-address announcer Michel Lacroix had barely started to announce Mitchell's goal when Plekanec put Montreal ahead 2-1 with his 15th career playoff goal.

"If I could draw it up any better, I don't know if I'd be able to," Mitchell said. "We got the goal, our line, and then next shift we go and score again, so that was perfect."

After Eller was sent off for high sticking at 8:14, Subban slashed Stone as he moved through the slot.

"[Subban] tried targeting me a couple times in the first period off faceoffs. I think he knew what he was doing," said Stone, who dropped to the ice after the slash.

Stone went to the dressing room but returned late in the power play before the major expired. He remained in the game and played one shift at the start of the third period before leaving and returning later in the period.

"I think he was getting targeted," Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur said. "That wasn't the first one he took. That was a lumberjack slash. He took a few good ones before that, just noticing from my point of view. Those things happen, and they called the five and we'll see what happens from here."

After answering "yes" when asked if he thought Subban should be subjected to further discipline, Ottawa coach Dave Cameron was asked if he would elaborate.

"Do you want to pay my fine? I think it's quite simple," Cameron said. "It's a vicious slash on an unprotected part of the body, and you either do one of two things. I think it's an easy solution: You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and you just give us five. It's not that complicated."

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien thought the call was too harsh.

"It was definitely a slashing penalty, but from our side I don't think it deserved a five minute (major)," Therrien said. "But I leave that to the discretion of the referees. One thing's for sure: We lacked discipline in the second period. I didn't like the two penalties we took after taking the lead. We'll have to be more disciplined. It could have hurt us, but we got away with it."

Turris tied the game 2-2 at 10:36, but Eller restored Montreal's lead at 11:42 when he beat Hammond on a breakaway.

Zibanejad tied the game 3-3 at 12:36 when he shot past Price on a rebound of defenseman Patrick Wiercioch's shot.

The Senators were assessed 26 of their 30 penalty minutes after the game had ended. Turris and MacArthur each was given roughing and misconduct penalties. Roughing penalties also were assessed to Plekanec and Canadiens defenseman Tom Gilbert, who also got a misconduct.

MacArthur said emotions were running high, but that discipline will be a key in the series.

"You're fighting for your life now," MacArthur said. "It's about keeping them in check. There's going to be dirty stuff that goes on in the games. Sometimes you've got to just take it, and when you get a chance to hand it back out, you do that too. It's fun hockey to be in. It's just too bad we let one slip tonight."

Game 2 will be played at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Canadiens scoring leader Max Pacioretty did not play because of an upper-body injury that sidelined him for Montreal's final two regular-season games.

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