Stanley Cup Playoffs: Senators pound Canadiens, take 2-1 series lead
Ottawa’s Jared Cowen and Montrea’s Ryan White fight during the third period of their playoff game in Scotiabank Place in Ottawa Sunday.
OTTAWA – Jean-Gabriel Pageau got his first NHL hat trick Sunday to lead the Ottawa Senators in a fight-filled 6-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The teams combined for 232 penalty minutes and nine players were given a game misconduct.
The Senators have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and Game 4 is Tuesday.
The third period started out with the Senators leading 2-1, but after Pageau’s second goal of the night and a Kyle Turris goal at 7:00, emotions overflowed and a line brawl broke out at center ice.
Pageau, who was born in Ottawa, scored his second of the game at 1:18 of the third period to give the Senators a 3-1 lead.
Turris’ goal, his first of the series, at 7:00 put the game out of reach.
On the ensuing faceoff, four different fights broke out.
The Senators ended up with the man advantage and Jakob Silfverberg scored on the power play as he beat Habs goalie Carey Price up high to make it 5-1 only 8 seconds after Turris’ goal.
More penalties were taken and at one point Ottawa was left with just five players on the bench, while Montreal had six.
Pageau completed the hat trick, just the second player in Senators history to score a hat trick in the playoffs with less than two minutes left. Daniel Alfredsson also did it in 1998.
Alfredsson scored Ottawa’s opening goal and Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots.
Price faced 30 shots. Rene Bourque scored for the Canadiens at 14:34 of the first.
Minnesota 3, Chicago 2: Beating the Chicago Blackhawks usually requires a certain kind of performance: bruising, aggressive and unflappable.
That’s precisely what the Minnesota Wild produced, entertaining the fans at their first home playoff game in five years.
They had a little luck, too, when Jason Zucker blindly sent his bad-angle overtime shot toward the goal.
Zucker scored at 2:15 of the extra period to give the Wild a 3-2 victory to pull within 2-1 in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.
“I don’t know if I even saw the net. I probably didn’t even look at the net,” said the rookie Zucker, who raced to the corner and jumped against the glass to celebrate. “I just tried shooting it, and it happened to go in for me.”
Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal for the Wild after Johnny Oduya scored for the Blackhawks late in the first period. Patrick Kane had two assists for the Blackhawks and has five in the series.
Zach Parise’s first goal of the series came early in the third period, but Duncan Keith got one back for the Blackhawks with 2:46 left in regulation after a slow line change by the suddenly conservative Wild.
That forced the second overtime in three games of this best-of-seven series. But rather than losing their edge in the locker room, the Wild returned to the ice after the third intermission with the same fire they had all afternoon.
“They just took it to another level,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said.
He added: “You can’t go out there and try to make pretty plays. It’s got to be ugly. We’re not doing that enough. Once we start doing that, we’ve got the strength, the speed and skill to get on the board and make things happen.”
Game 4 is in Minnesota Tuesday night.
“I think we have to get greasy goals if we want to be successful. There’s too much on the outside. We’ve got to get determined in that front area,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
After taking the top-seeded Blackhawks to overtime in Game 1 at Chicago, the Wild fell flat and lost 5-2 in Game 2. They took full advantage of the shift in venue and fed off the noise and excitement in the building.
Trying to match the Blackhawks and their speed, deft passing and seemingly infinite depth would be an impossible task for the Wild, so they knew they needed to bring more energy to fuel the announced crowd of 19,238 and a nasty streak to distract the visitors a bit from their finesse-based game.
The hits in the first period were 17-4 in favor of the Wild and 34-13 for the game, with eight by Cal Clutterbuck and seven by Devin Setoguchi.
“They’ve got some physical players, and I think the crowd was really into the game too,” Keith said. “Loud building. They got that rave music going all game long. It gets the place rocking in there.”
Corey Crawford made 34 saves for the Blackhawks, but the Wild found a potential weakness on the top shelf. All three of their goals went high. The last two of them came off a feisty forecheck.
Rookie Charlie Coyle fished the puck off the end boards to set up Parise, the first goal of the series for the first line. Then Matt Cullen didn’t give up on maintaining possession after falling on his stomach behind the net in overtime, poking a pass to Zucker before Oduya swooped in.
“I’m a Minnesotan, so I know how long people have been waiting for playoff hockey. It’s a lot of fun,” Cullen said.