MONTREAL (AP) P.K. Subban figured he needed to make up for being ejected from the opening game of the Montreal Canadiens’ first-round playoff series.
The Canadiens’ star defenseman, drawing inspiration from a vote of confidence from the wife of Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau, responded with a goal in Montreal’s 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 – sealed by Alex Galchenyuk’s winner 3:40 into overtime Friday night.
”I didn’t play the whole first game and I wanted to be better,” Subban said. ”I had to be. I don’t think I did a good enough job of setting an example (to teammates) in the first game.”
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Subban was tossed from the opener, a 4-3 win by Montreal, in the second period with a slashing major and a game misconduct for a two-handed chop to the wrist of Senators scoring leader Mark Stone.
As he was standing around outside the dressing room after the ejection, Elise Beliveau passed by him and told him not to worry, that he would be better in Game 2. After the win, he said Beliveau, whose husband’s death in December was honored with a state funeral, stood up in her seat behind the Canadiens’ bench and showed she was wearing a Subban No. 76 jersey.
”It’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen,” Subban said. ”It’s good to know I have that support. You know what Jean Beliveau means to this organization – what he means to Canada.”
Galchenyuk’s spin-around shot gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Max Pacioretty, back from a concussion, also scored in regulation for the Canadiens, while David Desharnais picked up two assists.
Game 3 is Sunday in Ottawa.
”It’s great to get an OT goal,” Galchenyuk said. ”It’s always nice to get one, but I don’t sit around and think about that. Time will tell when you can rate those kinds of goals.”
Clarke MacArthur and Patrick Wiercioch scored for the Senators, and Stone added two assists despite limited mobility with a microfracture in his right wrist from the slash by Subban.
”The reality is we’re down two games and we have to find a way to win,” said Ottawa coach Dave Cameron, whose team crept into the playoffs by going 22-4-4 down the stretch. ”During our streak, we didn’t look at how far we were back. We won. That’s the focus now. To find a way to win.”
He didn’t blame the game-winner on Hammond, who was beaten when Ottawa failed to clear the puck and Galchenyuk jumped on it.
Pacioretty returned to the lineup for the Canadians after sitting out Game 1 with the head injury he suffered near the end of the regular season.
Carey Price stopped 29 shots for Montreal, while Ottawa’s Andrew Hammond made 39 saves.
The Senators came out hitting, throwing 21 checks in the first period alone, and got the lead. Stone was in on the opening goal with a pass on a rush during which MacArthur beat Price with a dipping shot from the slot at 18:42.
The Canadiens adjusted to the Senators’ forechecking and turned the tables in the second, outshooting Ottawa 14-3, and taking the lead.
Pacioretty was parked in front to take a pass from David Desharnais and beat Hammond with low shot between the pads on a power play at 7:18.
Subban, who wasn’t suspended by the NHL for his slash, took a pass from Devante Smith-Pelly and blasted a shot past Hammond at 16:30.
”I think of myself as a player who steps up in big games and makes a difference,” Subban said. ”I always felt that the more pressure people put on me, the better I’ll play. I wanted to be better tonight for my teammates.”
Stone made the pass again as Wiercioch went to the net and got a shot between Price’s pads on a power play at 13:25 of the third.
NOTES: Senators tough guy Chris Neil was on hand in case Stone couldn’t play. … Montreal’s P.A. Parenteau sat out with an upper-body injury.