Rangers silence Senators to tie series; questions loom about Karlsson https://t.co/k9kld0eylJ
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 5, 2017
Very quickly it is obvious that the Senators have a better structure. They are trapping and trying to turn the puck over at center ice. But, while they are better tonight, there are still some holes. Kevin Hayes springs Michael Grabner on a breakaway, and gets stopped by goalie Craig Anderson. As the period unfolds, it’s clear that the Ottawa netminder is in better form than the last 2 games. Hayes gets stopped on a 2 on 1, but it is also clear that he is way more involved on the offense in this game. Coach Alain Vigneault prefers the matchup with Hayes playing against former Ranger, Derrick Brassard. As we have seen with Brassard, he is a streaky player. When he isn’t scoring, his defensive game wanes considerably. Kevin Hayes is taking advantage of this every shift. Fourteen minutes in, Hayes and the Rangers break out on a 4 on 2. The Blueshirts center brilliantly feeds Holden with a clear path to the net down left wing. Holden looks like a pure goal score, going backhand to forehand, and flipping it over Anderson’s left pad. Despite a couple of turnovers at center ice, the Rangers are playing with discipline. Their support of the puck and each other is perfect. There is always a blue shirt right where he is supposed to be. The whole team is keeping themselves between the Senators, and their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. New York is also finishing their checks with gusto. These two things see to be frustrating Ottawa, as they go 13 minutes without a shot on goal. The Rangers end the period up 1-0, and up 11-7 on shots on goal.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 5, 2017
The Rangers are firing on all cylinders. Their forwards are coming back hard and deep, overwhelming and smothering Ottawa. Mika Zibanajad picked up where he left off on Tuesday, being extremely hard to handle. Tanner Glass, dishing out checks like it was the first of the month, blocks a shot from the point and springs a 2 on 0. Grabner feeds Oscar Lindberg who fires it home. The goal adds to the momentum. It is also a reward for the fantastic team effort being displayed all over the ice. Craig Anderson is called on to make several huge stops on Rick Nash twice, and Derek Stepan. But, that line again, Glass retrieving his own dump in got it to Miller. J.T. fed it to Lindberg who rifled a high shot through Glass’ partial screen, and past a stunned Anderson. At 3-0 you could see the Senators noticeably sag. The blueshirts kept their hit parade going. Erik Karlsson was a frequent target. He and Chris Kreider seemed to get tangled with Karlsson coming away limping in an obvious fashion. Tanner Glass had a terrific period all over the ice.
— B. 📎 (@knicks148) May 5, 2017
The third starts with Mike Condon replacing Anderson in net, and Karlsson in the dressing room. The Rangers get an early power play and score quickly. Ryan McDonagh one-times a Stepan pass on net that Kreider cleans up to make it 4-0. Lundqvist reminds Ottawa that he is still at the top of his game by making a stellar right pad save on Mark Stone to preserve the shutout. With just under 7 minutes to play Kyle Turris fires a rising wrist shot through the legs of Marc Staal and under the crossbar, beating Lundqvist and ending his shutout bid. Off the next draw at center ice the Senators decide they want to prove their manhood by fighting until the final buzzer. First Dion Phaneuf starts an altercation with Brendan Smith. Then a few minutes later off an innocent draw outside a blue line, Bobby Ryan hacks Dan Girardi, and drops his gloves. The linesmen quickly intercede and only Ryan is penalized. Over the next two minutes there are 2 more altercations involving multiple players. 5 players from each side are thrown out, with the Sens obviously initiating all of the rough stuff. For the Rangers, they certainly bruised Ottawa’s collective ego. Basically saying, no matter how well you play, you can’t handle our best. Which is why we had the rough stuff. It would not surprise me at all if they dressed enforcer Chris Neil on home ice on Saturday. In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t. They are desperate. Yes, each team has held serve on home ice. But, the Sens have given up 13 goals in the last 3 games.They lost the last 2 games 4-1, and they weren’t that close. In my opinion, they will try and rally the crowd with fighting and try and get the Rangers off their game. Game 5 will be an interesting and pivotal contest. Will Erik Karlsson play? My guess is probably, but he isn’t close to 100%. And I think, led by Neil, they will be very protective of their injured captain.