Canadiens even series with Senators, Islanders rally to down Penguins, Blackhawks and Sharks take two-game leads in their respective series, and much more.

MONTREAL GAZETTE/OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Montreal Canadiens overcame the absence of three key forwards (Lars Eller, Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta) to injury to down the Ottawa Senators 3-1, squaring their best-of-seven series at a game apiece. Earlier in the day, the NHL suspended Senators defenseman Eric Gryba two games for his high hit on Eller in Game One, which heightened the emotions of this series, prompting Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor to lament the NHL’s slow change on hits to the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gryba’s hit on Eller elevated this series into the most emotional of the Conference Quarterfinals so far. More on this in Canadian Corner.

Raffi Torres celebrates his OT goal on Friday against the Canucks.

Raffi Torres celebrates his OT goal on Friday against the Canucks.

MERCURYNEWS.COM/VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Raffi Torres netted the overtime winner as the San Jose Sharks edged the Vancouver Canucks to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau also scored for the Sharks, while Ryan Kesler tallied for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canucks don’t start getting more offense from the Sedins (only an assist each in this series), they’ll be hitting the links by the middle of next week. 

NEWSDAY/PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Kyle Okposo’s weird goal midway through the third period completed a three-goal rally lifting the NY Islanders from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, knotting their series at a game apiece heading to Long Island for Games 3 and 4.  The Isles win spoiled the return of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who scored twice in his first game since suffering a broken jaw over a month ago.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Frolik and Patrick Sharp each scored twice as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to shake off the “feeling-out process” of Game One and find their range on the Wild. It was complete domination by the ‘Hawks, out-shooting the Wild 47-28.

CHICAGO BUSINESS JOURNAL: Lewis Lazare scolds the Chicago Blackhawks and CSN Chicago for firing reporter Susannah Collins in the aftermath of her on-air gaffe in which she said the Blackhawks had a lot of “sex” during the season, when she meant to say “success”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CSN Chicago claims they fired Collins for reasons unrelated to her gaffe, but wouldn’t specify what they were. Lazare speculates it’s probably due to some outrageous, politically incorrect videos made years ago when she was part of a duo called the Sports Nutz. If so, somebody at CSN Chicago isn’t doing a good job screening their prospective on-air talent. They’re certainly not convincing anyone the firing wasn’t due to her innocent gaffe, giving the impression they’re over-reacting to its fallout.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues goalie Brian Elliott’s late-season resurgence has carried over into his club’s opening round series against the LA Kings.

CSNNE.COM: Struggling Bruins forward Rich Peverley is looking forward to proving his worth in his club’s series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

MLIVE.COM: Promising Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser will miss the remainder of the playoffs to a broken thumb, but the Wings are excited over his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one will ever replace retired Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom, but the Wings could have a reasonable facsimile in DeKeyser.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Why Southern California should care about hockey.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres GM Darcy Regier said the club will rule on the future of interim head coach Ron Rolston soon.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers could have Ryane Clowe, Marc Staal and Brian Boyle back from injury soon.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals power-play will be key against the Rangers.

NATIONAL POST: Former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey’s daughter goes public with her mental illness battle.