MONTREAL -- After watching centre Lars Eller stretchered off the Bell Centre ice after a horrific open ice hit in the series opener, the Montreal Canadiens and goaltender Carey Price knew they had to answer with a big Game 2.
Price came through with a 29-save effort as the Canadiens pulled out a hard-hitting but mostly cleanly played 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night.
The win left their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final tied at 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Sunday in Ottawa.
"It's the playoffs -- you can't dwell on the last game," said Price, who took heat for two goals that beat him between the pads in a 4-2 loss to Ottawa in the series opener only 24 hours earlier. "You've got to get refocused and get ready for the next one."
Fourth-line grinder Ryan White, rookie Brendan Gallagher and veteran sniper Michael Ryder scored in the middle period and the Canadiens held on to beat the flat-looking Senators, who were let down by a power play that went 0-for-4.
Milan Michalek scored for Ottawa.
Missing not only Eller, but captain Brian Gionta and big winger Max Pacioretty who emerged from Game 1 with upper-body injuries, the Canadiens stuck to basics. They outshot Ottawa 34-30 and outhit them 37-26.
There was anticipation of rough play after Eric Gryba's hit that left Eller bleeding profusely on the ice and saw him spend a night in hospital with a concussion, smashed up nose and some missing teeth.
Passions were further inflamed Friday morning as Montreal coach Michel Therrien blasted his Ottawa counterpart Paul MacLean for what he felt were disrespectful comments. MacLean had suggested Eller should have kept his head up and that rearguard Raphael Diaz had left him open to a hit with a "suicide" pass.
But the teams stuck to hockey in an uneventful game.
"When I read his comments this morning, I was pretty upset," said Therrien.
MacLean just stared off into space without answering when asked about the two-game suspension Gryba got from the NHL.
But he was clear on what caused his team to lose the game.
"They played harder than we did for most of the game," MacLean said. "We turned over pucks that ended up in our net.
"We need a lot of rest and on Sunday, we need to come out and play."
-- The Canadian Press