Montreal, QC – Ryan White and Brendan Gallagher scored in a 53-second span early in the second period to lift the Montreal Canadiens past the Ottawa Senators, 3-1, in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal from Bell Centre.
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 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.
Carey Price rebounded from a shaky performance in Game 1 by making 29 saves.
"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."
Milan Michalek notched the lone score for the Senators, while Craig Anderson halted 31 shots in defeat.
Game 3 will take place in Canada's capital on Sunday.
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.
Chris Phillips' right-point drive hit the back of the net thanks to a tip by Michalek and halved the Senators' deficit with 8:16 played, but the Habs regained their two-goal edge on a Ryder strike with 1:03 remaining in the period.
The Canadiens failed to provide their foes with any comeback ammunition in the guise of power-play chances in the final 20 minutes, and Price made sure the 3-1 edge stood by making nine saves.
The Habs and Sens played a spirited but scoreless first period, during which the hosts had to kill off three straight short-handed situations after failing on an early power play. Anderson made 14 saves and Price stopped eight.
"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."
Price lost two of his bottom teeth in a goalmouth collision during the second period, but did not miss any game action ... White recorded his first goal since Jan. 27 against the Devils ... The Canadiens dressed forwards Colby Armstrong, Jeff Halpern and Gabriel Dumont to fill the vacant roster spots ... The Sens sat forward Cory Conacher, dressing forward Matt Kassian in his place and defenseman Andre Benoit for Gryba ... Karlsson led all players in ice time with 29:38.