Senators earn gutsy OT win in New York
Alfredsson knocked out of game, 2 ejected
Chris Neil scored 77 seconds into overtime as the Ottawa Senators fought back for a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 2 on Saturday.
Neil got to a loose puck in front off a rebound and backhanded the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist for his eighth career playoff goal, and likely the biggest.
The top-seeded Rangers seemed poised to grab a 2-0 series lead when Brian Boyle scored in the third period, but Nick Foligno tied it with 4:37 left in regulation.
"We were four minutes away from winning the hockey game, and I still don't think we played that poorly," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "But I do think we need to continue to attack."
Foligno helped ensure that the Senators would still be alive then when he got to a loose puck off a shot by Zenon Konopka that got past Rangers defenceman Marc Staal and slammed it up and over the sprawling Lundqvist from the edge of the crease to tie it.
"We're a team that never gives up and you could see it tonight," Neil told Hockey Night in Canada. "We were down and we just keep coming, and that's our motto and that's what we live by."
The series is now tied, with Game 3 on Monday in Ottawa, presented by HNIC (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).
The game was heated from the start, and the Senators lost captain Daniel Alfredsson for the rest of the game when he was hit high in the second period by New York's Carl Hagelin.
Hagelin got his elbow up and struck Alfredsson in the head along the boards, earning a major penalty.
Senators defenceman Matt Carkner and New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky were ejected early on.
Just 2:15 into the game Saturday night, Carkner began unloading punches on Brian Boyle while the two were pinned against the side boards in the Ottawa end. Boyle fell to the ice, and was still receiving several blows from Carkner while trying to cover up.
As players from both teams gathered along the wall and exchanged shoves and words, Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky charged in to help Boyle. When things settled down, Carkner and Dubinsky were ushered to the penalty boxes.
Neil said the early hostilities were the result of an incident involving Boyle and Erik Karlsson in Game 1.
Boyle had landed a few punches to the head of Karlsson, Ottawa's 21-year-old star defenceman, after the whistle on Thursday night.
"We didn't like what Boyle did to Erik in the first game, and obviously we had a big penalty kill at the beginning of the game to kill off five minutes, and that was a big part of [the win]," Neil said.
While referees sorted out the penalties, Dubinsky became incensed in the box — apparently aware that he had been ejected. When the official announcement was made, Dubinsky stormed toward the tunnel and threw a full water cooler as he marched out of view.
Carkner was given a major penalty for fighting, but the Rangers failed to take advantage of the five-minute power play. He also received a minor penalty for roughing, that was cancelled out by one given to Dubinsky.
Later in the first period, Boyle fought Neil, with both players quickly falling to the ice.
"Our team responded all night long," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "We handled the momentum changes way better than we did in Game 1. We learned a lot from Game 1 and we will now learn a lot from Game 2.
"This is what playoff hockey is all about. It's about responding. And we're looking forward to doing that again, but we know that it will be hard."
Carkner didn't play the opener. He came into the lineup at the expense of defenceman Matt Gilroy.
Ottawa tough guy Konopka also came into the lineup after sitting, a decision coach Paul MacLean defended afterward, praising Konopka's face offs and ability to drive to the net.
With defenceman Sergei Gonchar off for tripping, Stralman took a cross-zone pass from defence partner Dan Girardi and fired a shot from the top edge of the right circle that pinballed off Anderson and squeezed between his pads at 10:16.
Anderson finished with 27 saves, two less than Lundqvist's ledger.
That lead held up for the rest of the first period and deep into the second when Ottawa's more potent power play cashed in on a five-minute advantage from the Hagelin hit.
Just over three minutes into the advantage, Karlsson flung the puck in front from below the goal line, deep in the right corner of the Rangers' end. As New York defenceman Michael Del Zotto skated in to help protect the crease, he stuck out his left skate and deflected the puck past Lundqvist to tie it with 6:10 left in the second.
Boyle appeared to be in line to be the star of the game when he fired in a shot from the slot, as he was being knocked sideways by a hit from Jesse Winchester. That gave the Rangers their second lead of the night, 2-1 at 2:41 of the third.
The Rangers' much-maligned power play finally came through after failing during the five-minute advantage New York received for Carkner's fighting penalty.
Alfredsson's status for the next game will now be a big question. He missed five games because of a concussion sustained in an Oct. 29 game against the Rangers when he took a hit to the head from Wojtek Wolski.
With files from CBCSports.ca