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Senators eliminate Canadiens

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MONTREAL -- The Ottawa Senators had not won a playoff series since 2007, when they lost to Anaheim in their first and only shot in the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

It was worth the wait for Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, thanks to a huge goaltending effort from Craig Anderson.

Cory Conacher scored twice, Eric Condra had a goal and two assists, and Ottawa beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 in Game 5 on Thursday night to clinch their first series win in six years.

"I told the guys in the locker room after the end, this is one of the sweetest wins I've ever been a part of," said Alfredsson, who has been with Ottawa through each of the team's 22 playoff series. "Obviously the first one we beat New Jersey (in 1998), that was unbelievable, but everything that we've gone through this year and my being at the stage of my career where I am, too, I'm really happy we were able to win it."

Anderson made 33 saves and Kyle Turris scored for a third straight game. Zack Smith and Alfredsson added goals for the Senators, the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

"Craig Anderson was the MVP of this playoff series," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "He was outstanding in every game, and he gives us a chance to bend but not break, and gives us a chance to recover and get our bearings amongst us. And then once we do that, we seem to be able to establish our game, and I think he's a big part of that."

Ottawa eliminated the Northeast Divison champion and second-seeded Canadiens with a 4-1 series victory, winning three straight games after splitting the first two at the Bell Centre.

"Anything can happen as it goes on," said Anderson, who made 48 saves one week earlier to lead the Senators to a series-opening 4-2 win. "Look at tonight, if they get a couple of bounces, they get two, three, maybe four goals. I got really lucky with the posts tonight and we got some lucky bounces, so going forward sometimes luck, if it's on your side, you've got a good chance."

Ottawa had lost four straight playoff series, including the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals to Anaheim, since winning that year's Eastern Conference final against Buffalo.

P.K. Subban scored late in the first period for the Canadiens, who were without No. 1 goalie Carey Price.

Peter Budaj stopped 23 shots in his first career playoff start in place of Price, who was injured on the final play of regulation on Tuesday night.

In addition to Price, the Canadiens were without captain Brian Gionta and forwards Brandon Prust, Ryan White and Lars Eller, who were also injured.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien agreed that Anderson's play was the key to the series.

"He gave them the chance to stay in the game and gave them a chance to get some momentum with key save after key save, so they deserve a lot of credit as a team," Therrien said. "From our standpoint, even if we were missing a lot of players tonight, we approached the game with the right attitude. We were trying to dictate the game and guys came to play and worked hard, but it seemed like every time they got . . . they capitalized on their chances, let's put it this way."

Turris, who scored the overtime winner against Budaj on Tuesday in Ottawa, restored Ottawa's two-goal lead at 3-1 midway through the second period when he got credit for a short-handed effort.

Alfredsson scored his 49th career playoff goal on a power play 6:22 into the third to make it 4-1. Conacher, who put the Senators up 2-0 in the first, scored his second goal of the game on another man advantage at 12:27 to increase the lead to 5-1.

Condra scored Ottawa's third power-play goal of the period at 16:12.

Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty played through a separated shoulder he suffered one week earlier in Ottawa's series-opening 4-2 win.

"The third period's kind of a blur," said Pacioretty, who sat out Montreal's 3-1 win on Friday but returned to play the next three games. "We had so much momentum in the second period and, even in the beginning of the game, it seemed we got a couple of bounces early on, and it's tough to tell what was the turning point, but we battled really hard early on and it's frustrating when pucks don't go in."

Both teams were called for too-many-men minor penalties midway through the second, and the Canadiens were on the power play, trailing 2-1, when disaster struck for the home side.

Montreal center Tomas Plekanec pushed Turris toward the goal, and the Ottawa center collided with Budaj as he fell to the ice.

Condra's shot banked into the net off Turris, and a video review upheld the goal ruling on the ice.

Budaj, who was beaten 2:32 into overtime on Tuesday night, coughed up a fat rebound on Matt Kassian's shot from the left side that led to the opening goal.

Smith jumped on the puck and skated past Budaj to tuck a backhand around his left pad into the right side of the net.

Conacher, who beat Price for the tying goal with 22.6 seconds left two nights earlier, made it 2-0 when he put a loose puck in the goal mouth into a wide-open left side after Condra's shot hit the right post.

Subban sent Montreal into their dressing room within one at 2-1 when his shot from the left point beat Anderson for a power-play goal with 14.9 seconds left in the first.

Canadiens left winger Rene Bourque put a shot off the right post in the first, and right winger Colby Armstrong hit the crossbar in the second after Plekanec's pass sent him in on a breakaway with Montreal still within one.

NOTES: Left winger Guillaume Latendresse was left out of the Senators' lineup for a third straight game. ... Ottawa defenseman Patrick Wiercioch remains sidelined by a lower-body injury that forced him to leave early in Game 3, won 6-1 by the Senators in the first game in Ottawa. ... Budaj had previously appeared in five playoff games, all in relief, including Tuesday night's 3-2 overtime loss in Game 4 in Ottawa. Prior to that, Budaj's last playoff game was April 22, 2010, when he allowed one goal on four shots after taking over for Anderson in Colorado's 5-0 loss in San Jose. Budaj came off the bench to replace Jose Theodore three times in the Avalanche's second-round loss to Detroit in 2008 when they were swept by the Red Wings. ... Robert Mayer dressed as Budaj's backup. Mayer, who has yet to make his NHL debut, went 16-17-3 with a 2.93 goals-against-average and .908 save percentage in 38 games with AHL Hamilton this season.
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