Canadiens vs. Senators: Ottawa carries series lead into Game 2

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto

Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens resumes Friday night.

The Ottawa Senators managed to steal home-ice advantage from the Montreal Canadiens with a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Thursday night.

For better or worse, the team will not have a chance to dwell on the victory for too long as the series resumes in Montreal on Friday night.

Ottawa managed to weather an early barrage from the Canadiens, which continued through a majority of the game (Montreal won 61 percent of face-offs and outshot Ottawa, 50-31). The Senators also killed off four of five penalties, which included 81 seconds of a five-on-three power play, as well as a five-minute major.

Despite these advantages for the Canadiens, the Senators still overcame a 2-1 deficit with three third period goals (all four of Ottawa's goals came at five-on-five, even strength).

Unfortunately, the Senators' impressive win has taken a back-seat as the main development in Game 1. Canadiens forward Lars Eller was knocked unconscious by a hit from Senators defenseman Eric Gryba, which has earned Gryba a discipline hearing with the Department of Player Safety.

1. Will anything occur in Game 2 as a result of the Gryba hit?

This was a big moment in Game 1. At the time, it appeared as though it could be a turning point in Montreal's favor. With the game tied at one, Brendan Gallagher put the Canadiens ahead almost immediately after the five-minute major began.

However, it was the only goal the team could muster on the extended power play opportunity.

With Montreal dominating possession throughout the contest, the Senators still managed to come away with the win and scored four goals while doing so. Will the Canadiens come into Game 2 frustrated by the loss and the hit on Eller? Or will the team be focused on knotting the series at one?

2. Will Ottawa improve their face-off winning percentage?

Montreal owned the puck for long stretches of time in Game 1. This is made clear by their face-off winning percentage and shots on goal. With the exception of Zack Smith (11-of-13, 85 percent success rate), every other player who took more than two face-offs registered a face-off percentage below 33 percent.

3. Will Craig Anderson carry over his performance from Game 1?

Ottawa's ability to hold off Montreal's attack is was key in their victory in Game 1. The Canadiens applied pressure and the Senators battled it off. While the team performed well as a unit, goaltender Craig Anderson can be credited as a key factor in Montreal being held to two goals. Will he be able to do so in Game 2?

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