"That's been our strength this whole year, that we have four lines and anyone can play against anyone, anyone can do well and score goals", forward Mats Zuccarello told reporters. "I feel good about what we did here at home, and [now we] prepare for our toughest game yet". The role of the hockey Rangers back on home ice in "Madison Square garden" twice to beat "Ottawa", and return to the fight for the conference finals. Senators coach Guy Boucher said he wasn't concerned by that before the game - the team's approach should remain the same, he said - and such thinking proved prescient as the night wore on. "(Thursday) is the most important game of the season for us". That came after video review had awarded Vesey a goal with 7:12 to go when Anderson looked like he'd made a big stop, but the camera showed his glove was clearly in the net. He then came out and put in a wraparound before Anderson could recover. "Maybe it's a good thing for our team to get a couple of slaps in the face and kind of wake up a little bit".
"We're not kidding ourselves", Boucher said. That tied the game at two and then Pyatt gave Ottawa their first lead when he redirected Zack Smith's no-look shot on goal from near the sideboards.
The biggest early buzz at Canadian Tire Centre came when Chris Neil stepped onto the ice for the first time this postseason, hoping to give the Senators a lift after they dropped the previous two games at NY. "It's something we have to match". The Senators were forced to pull Craig Anderson in Game 4, so his confidence should be shaken. The Senators had a 12-9 advantage on shots in the middle period but fell further behind.
Speaking of Lindberg, with 4:06 left in period 2, it was Oscar Lindberg who scored again putting the Rangers up 3-0 over the Senators. "We're not gonna change much now. They'll most probably display the exact same urgency as they did last game".
Not only was Ottawa totally dominated in Game 4 but it also dealt with the unsettling sight of superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson, playing with hairline fractures in his heel, exiting the contest after two periods. With Chris Wideman caught up ice, the Rangers had an odd-man rush and all Fast had to do was deposit it home at 4:07 by Anderson on the stick side. J.T. Miller grabbed the loose puck and passed to Lindberg at the point for a 3-0 lead at 15:54.
That gave the Rangers a goal from each of their four lines.
"They've written us off before it started. we were going to lose in four or five", he said. Obviously it was a different way we were down 2-1.
"They were winning puck battles, they were first on pucks, they were blocking shots, they were doing all the right things to win the game", Senators forward Alex Burrows said of the Rangers. If we're playing well, we're going to have three guys back all the time and a fourth guy coming.
A win in Game 5 looked unlikely at many points, beginning with how it started. They won that game and closed out the series in six. The previous mark of 20 was set from the quarterfinals vs. Boston in 1970 to the quarterfinals vs. St. Louis in 1981.
"We were open to anything", he said of last summer's free-agent period.
Karlsson missed two games toward the end of the regular season with the foot fractures but returned to help Ottawa clinch a playoff berth. The Rangers have scored first in each game this series.
The Rangers have now lost three times this postseason after giving up a goal after their opponent pulled their goalie.
Ottawa erased its early deficit, pulling within one late in the first and scoring 33 seconds apart in the second to take a 3-2 lead on Pyatt's goal at 8:50.