OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators have adopted the "Pesky Sens" nickname this season.
They lived up to that moniker in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.
Kyle Turris scored at 2:32 of overtime as the Senators fought back from a 2-0 third-period deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 and grab a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference quarter-final.
Turris took a shot from the sideboards that snuck past Habs backup goalie Peter Budaj, who came on for injured starter Carey Price at the start of overtime.
"That was a bit of a lucky shot tonight but I'll take it," Turris said. "How we did it tonight, sticking around and kind of giving ourselves a chance to win ...
"You know, pesky."
A team ravaged by injuries all season, the Senators found a way to make the playoffs with a patchwork roster and now have the East's No. 2 seed on the brink of elimination.
"I really thought it was a heck of a playoff game," said Senators coach Paul MacLean, who could barely hide his smile. "They were better than us for a while, we were better than them for a while and at the end of the night we get a goal to tie it up late and a goal in overtime ... that's the Stanley Cup playoffs."
Mika Zibanejad and Cory Conacher had the other goals for Ottawa, which got 26 saves from Craig Anderson in a game that the Canadiens controlled for lengthy stretches.
"We came to play. We came to play and that's exactly what we did," said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, whose team will look to stay alive in Game 5 at home on Thursday night. "We certainly deserved a better fate.
"It's one of those nights ... tough to explain."
P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk scored 62 seconds apart in the second period for Montreal.
Price, who made 30 saves for the Canadiens two nights after allowing all six goals in Ottawa's 6-1 victory in Game 3, suffered a lower-body injury at the end of regulation. Therrien said he didn't have an update on Price's status for the rest of a series that has seen a little bit of everything through four games.
Down 2-0 nothing in the third period and with little going their way offensively, the Senators finally beat Price when Zibanejad's goal off his skate at 11:55 from in close stood after video review.
Ottawa continued to push and tied it with 22.6 seconds left in regulation when Conacher scored off a scramble in front with Anderson on the bench to send the crowd of 20,500 at Scotiabank Place into a frenzy.
Turris, who scored in overtime against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of last year's first-round playoff series, then beat Budaj from a bad angle for the winner.
"That's the nature of our team," MacLean said. "We play the whole game and don't stop playing until the game is over and that means sixty-plus minutes to do it and we found a way."
Added Conacher: "There are hockey gods and I guess they were on our side tonight."
After carrying the play for most of the first period, the Canadiens were finally rewarded in the second. Subban, who took 25 minutes in penalties in Sunday's fight-filled affair and was booed every time he touched the puck, opened the scoring at 2:52 after taking a feed off the rush and roofing a shot past Anderson.
The flashy defenceman celebrated by mimicking a high-five to a Canadiens fan seated by the glass before being mobbed by his teammates.
Galchenyuk then made it 2-0 at 3:04, again beating Anderson up high, much to the delight of the large contingent of Montreal fans in attendance.
The Ottawa goalie made a big save from in close on pinching Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov to keep the deficit at two.
The Canadiens were furious with what they deemed were missed calls that led to both of Ottawa's goals in regulation.
"Are we going to say we got a game stolen from us? That doesn't do anything for us, it does us no good," Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges said. "We're down 3-1 no matter which way we want to explain it so it doesn't matter.
"Our backs are now up against the wall and we don't have a choice but to come out swinging."
Senators defenceman Eric Gryba returned to the lineup for Ottawa after serving a two-game suspension for his hit on Canadiens forward Lars Eller. Gryba caught Eller with his head down at the Montreal blue-line just as he received a pass in Game 1, sending the Habs forward flying.
Despite a raucous crowd that sensed the Canadiens were ripe for the taking, it was Montreal that came out the more determined of the two teams early.
Anderson held the fort as Ottawa didn't record a shot until after the eight-minute mark of the first period, an effort off the rush from Game 3 hero Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
The Canadiens said after the morning skate that they wouldn't be looking for retribution on Gryba, but Montreal forward Brandon Prust took an undisciplined roughing penalty late in the period, only to see the Senators power play fail capitalize.
Notes: Prust left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury. Therrien said he didn't know of his availability for Game 5. ... The Canadiens were missing forwards Brian Gionta and Ryan White with upper-body injuries. Jeff Halpern and Gabriel Dumont drew into the lineup in their place. ... Gryba took the spot of Senators defenceman Patrick Wiercioch, who left Game 3 with a lower-body injury. There were no other lineup changes for the Ottawa. ... Eller, who was sent to hospital with a concussion, broken nose and some lost teeth after the Gryba hit in Game 1, remains out of the Canadiens lineup. ... Former Ottawa goalie Ron Tugnutt was in attendance and got a loud cheer from the crowd in the first period. ... Keila Penner and her family were the guests of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk at the game. The 11-year-old was sent home from her Montreal-area school last week for refusing to remove her Ottawa sweater on 'Habs Jersey Day.' Keila's father grew up in Ottawa and is a die-hard Senators fan.
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