MONTREAL - Brian Flynn's goal was the winner at the end of a wild second period that saw five goals scored and star defenceman P.K. Subban ejected for slashing as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in the opening game of their NHL playoff series on Wednesday night.
Montreal takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series into Game 2 on Friday night.
The emotion-filled match featured the first goals as Canadiens by late-season pick-ups Flynn and Torrey Mitchell while Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller also scored for Montreal.
Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad scored for Ottawa.
The Bell Centre crowd was aroar until Michalek got credit for the opening goal at 12:25, which was put into the net by Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov. A rebound off the end boards got by two players and Markov tried to tuck it into Carey Price's pads when it went in.
The game broke open when the Canadiens scored twice in a 15 second span of the second frame, the fastest two playoff goals by Montreal since May 8, 1998, with Mitchell and Plekanec scoring.
But only six seconds later, Eller went off for slashing. Seven seconds after that, Subban took a chop at Mark Stone's hands and the Senators scoring leader went down in apparent pain and rushed off for treatment. Subban was slapped with a five-minute major and game misconduct.
The Senators scored twice through Turris and Zibanejad and conceded a short-handed goal to Eller during the penalty.
Then Flynn came out of a corner and slid the puck past Hammond to give Montreal the lead with 2:43 left in the period.
Stone, who went into the playoffs on a nine-game points streak, returned to play, left again late in the second period, then returned midway through the third frame.
It was a shaky game for Ottawa goalie Andrew Hammond, who got his team into the playoffs by going 20-1-2 down the stretch. Shots were 39-33 in Montreal's favour.
Notes _ A moment of silence was held before the game for Senators assistant coach Mark Reeds, who died this week of cancer at 55. . . Canadiens scoring leader Max Pacioretty sat out with an upper body injury but may return for Game 2 on Friday. . . Michalek was back for the first time since he had an upper body injury March 21.