NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Filip Kuba #17 of the Ottawa Senators takes a penalty in the second period for high sticking Carl Hagelin #62 of the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
That was one hell of a hockey game; it got out of hand at times yes, but it was still one hell of a playoff hockey game.
We all know what happened at the start of the game between Matt Carkner and Brian Boyle so I won't go into it here or at all. All I will say is that the Rangers should have responded with at least a goal on the following 5 minute major, but instead they managed only two shots over the five minute power play. Give credit to the Sens PK for clogging lanes but to have a 5 minute power play and only get two shots is not good and the PP needs to be addressed.
The Carkner/Boyle incident really set the tone for the first period as Ottawa tried to play the physical game with the Rangers and gave the Rangers the man advantage two more times which, at the outset, did not seem to be a good idea, but Anton Stralman picked up his first career playoffs point by squeaking a slapper from just outside the right face off circle past Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson.
After the Stralman goal; the Sens went back to their game of trying to hit the Rangers out of MSG and to their credit the Rangers started taking some of their bait. Boyle answered Chris Neil's challenge late in the first and the Rangers seemed more determined to put the Senators five rows deep every hit instead of playing their game and get more shots on Anderson.
The second period rolled around and it seemed like the Rangers were back to playing their game after an overly emotional first period, they were getting tough on the forecheck and getting decent chances on Craig Anderson but just couldn't get that second goal. The Rangers were carrying the momentum of the period until Carl Hagelin went high on Daniel Alfredsson with his elbows extended and was called for a 5 minute major as Alfredsson went to the locker room and didn't return. While I do agree with the call and the length of the penalty I just don't think it's suspension worthy, although I'm not entirely sure what constitutes a suspension worthy hit anymore.
While the Rangers killed the 5 minute major, it was on the follow up penalty to Brad Richards (a really bad play that shows the Rangers heads were not in this game) that Erik Karlsson scored by being lucky enough to bounce a centering feed off of Michael Del Zotto's skate that ended up in the back of the net behind Henrik Lundqvist. While a goal like that is frustrating, Del Zotto was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 9 times out of 10 that puck sails harmlessly across the crease.
Going into the third period with the score tied at one, the Rangers once again came out of the locker room focused and playing their game, forcing turn overs and playing smart hockey for the most part. All of this smart hockey eventually paid off with suddenly scoring Brian Boyle giving the Rangers a 2-1 off a great defensive play by Michael Del Zotto that transitioned into the scoring chance.
The Rangers then went into their defensive game and as time ticked away at MSG the Sens began to press the Rangers and spent a lot of the time in the Rangers end keeping Henrik busy and not giving the Rangers a chance to get out of the zone.
This eventually doomed the Rangers, as a neutral zone turn over turned into a Nick Foligno goal that Kyle Turris assisted on by sending the puck past a sprawling Marc Staal to a wide open Foligno who put the puck behind Lundqvist to tie the game.
To overtime it went and to Chris Neil the puck went after being hit in a place that well...let Andrew Gross tell you.
Re: Ryan McDonagh, he, ahem, got hit in the place guys don't want to get hit. Torts says he's fine.
If you ask me; that's a fitting end to this game for the Rangers since it really felt they took a puck to the family jewels during this game as three unlucky bounces led to three Ottawa goals tonight.
After the jump some final thoughts on tonight's game and a helpful reminder
1) The second that linesman or referee declined to pull Matt Carkner off of Brian Boyle, this game went out of hand and all of the nastiness that followed was just natural since the refs chose not to step in.
2) In the moments where actual hockey was played, the Rangers were once again the better team and maybe had a better game than the one they played Thursday night as all of their role players (Boyle, Prust, Fedotenko) all had great games and just needed a little extra to put them past the Senators
3) Forget this game; its over with, focus on what went right for the Rangers and come out Monday night in Ottawa focused and ready to go
Also: This was game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. This team was not gonna go 16-0. Yes this one hurts because of how it went down but keep in mind that there are gonna be games like this one on the road to the Stanley Cup
One other thing: We broke 2000 comments in the Game Thread tonight which I think is a Blueshirt Banter record...keep it up guys and gals sharing these games with you makes them that much better (or worse at times)