Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Rangers crumble at the hands of Senators

NY Times News Service, OTTAWA

Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone, left, celebrates his goal past the New York Rangers on Saturday during the third period in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

Photo: AP

Before Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist spoke of his ability to reset after a narrow defeat in the series opener.

“You try not to change anything,” he said. “You have your routine, the things you need to do going into every game. It doesn’t matter if you’re up one game or down one game.”

What followed on Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre was anything but routine.

Clearly nowhere near his laser-sharp best — acrobatically exhibited in a 2-1 loss to the Senators in Game 1 and in the opening round against Montreal — Lundqvist could not stop Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa’s unlikely hero.

Pageau scored twice in the final four minutes of regulation to bring the Senators back from a two-goal deficit and capped the 6-5 comeback in the second overtime with his fourth goal of the game.

“We played a strong game; we just came up a little bit short,” a somber Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Ottawa has a two-games-to-none lead in this second-round series.

Game 3 is played tomorrow in New York.

Lundqvist and his teammates appeared to be headed for a series-tying win before Pageau — who scored only 12 goals in the regular season — notched his second goal of the game at 16 minutes, 41 seconds of the third period, then finished his hat trick at 18 minutes 58 seconds when Senators goalie Craig Anderson was pulled for an extra attacker.

In the first overtime, the Rangers had a golden opportunity to escape with a victory when Rick Nash took the puck from Anderson behind the net.

Nash had a chance to put it in, but it was poked away by Senators forward Kyle Turris.

Nash’s squandered chance came after a stunning reversal in a third period that began with the Rangers seemingly assured of heading back to Madison Square Garden with the series tied at a game apiece.

A strong second period had yielded three Rangers goals and a 4-2 lead, the kind that Lundqvist has been more than capable of defending.

Michael Grabner opened the scoring for the Rangers with a short-handed goal at 4 minutes 16 seconds of the first, and Pageau tied the score with an unassisted goal at 13 minutes 59 seconds.

The Rangers dominated the second period.

Anderson had to make a flurry of early saves, stopping a frustrated J.T. Miller from close range with a virtual open net behind him.

Miller, who has one assist and no goals in the playoffs, smacked his stick against the glass after he was denied.

However, Chris Kreider — who made his Rangers debut during the 2012 first-round series against the Senators and also had been quiet in the playoffs — put his team ahead at 10 minutes 39 seconds off assists from Mika Zibanejad and Ryan McDonagh.

Kreider shouted in delight as he celebrated his breakthrough moment along the boards.

When he settled on the Rangers’ bench, Zibanejad, a former Senator, hugged him and planted a kiss on Kreider’s white helmet.

Penguins 6, Capitals 2

AP, Washington

Phil Kessel scored twice, Sidney Crosby set up more goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins chased Braden Holtby on the way to a 6-2 victory over Washington Capitals in Game 2 that gave them a commanding 2-0 lead in their second-round series.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced for Pittsburgh, which also got goals by Matt Cullen, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins scored three goals on 14 shots on Holtby, who was pulled in favor of Philipp Grubauer after the second period.

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