*None of us were able to get the recap last night, so the always reliable friend of the blog Glen Miller was able to give us an assist. Don’t forget to give Glen’s current project, Fan Junkies a look, and follow Glen on Twitter. Thanks again Glen!
If evidence was needed to prove a hotly contested playoff series can turn any two teams into bitter rivals, look no further than the series between the Rangers and Senators. Prior to this postseason affair between the two it would have been unlikely to hear any fan of one describe the other club as a rival. That has all changed after game two of the series, won by the Senators 3 – 2 in OT.
Now, on to the game.
- Sens coach Paul MacLean set the tone for the contest before the opening puck drop by inserting Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner into the lineup in place of Kaspars Daugavins and Matt Gilroy. The goal was clear; MacLean wanted to play a more physical brand of hockey. It would take just 2:15 for the game to get physical.
Apparently not happy with Brian Boyle’s actions toward young defenseman Erik Karlsson in game one, Carkner went looking for the Rangers big center. He found him and appeared to challenge Boyle to a fight, something Boyle seemed to decline. Carkner wouldn’t take no for an answer and sucker-punched Boyle, knocking him to the ice before throwing several more punches to the body.
A melee ensued with all 10 skaters joining in. With Carkner landing punch after punch and the linesmen late in getting involved, Brandon Dubinsky would jump in to remove Carkner from Boyle. Once order was restored, for the moment at least, the officials would gather to decide on the resulting penalties.
Carkner would get two for roughing, a five-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct. Dubinsky surprisingly would also get two for roughing and a game misconduct for being third guy in an altercation. The Rangers would end up with a full five-minute PP chance out of it all. Unfortunately the Blue Shirts couldn’t get anything going on their first man-advantage opportunity.
- Chris Neil would continue the Senators targeting of Boyle when he too challenged Boyle at 8:17. This time Boyle would accept the invitation. The fight didn’t last long and no one landed any big-time punches but it was important for Boyle to stand up for himself.
- Just 0:15 later, Sergei Gonchar would take a tripping penalty and give the Rangers their second man-advantage. This time the Blue Shirts would capitalize with Anton Stralman sneaking a slapshot by Craig Anderson. The goal was assisted by Dan Girardi and Artem Anisimov. For Anisimov it was his third assist of the series.
- The goalies would trade great saves late in the period. Hank would stop a deking Nick Foligno with the right pad on a mini-breakaway. Anderson, following a late elbowing penalty to Chris Phillips, stoned Ryan Callahan all alone in front of the cage with just 0:46 left in the period.
- The first frame would end with each team getting 10 shots on goal and the Rangers holding onto a 1 – 0 lead.
- The Rangers controlled play for the better part of the first half of period two out-chancing the Senators 6 – 1 according the numbers given by NBCSN.
- During the physical first period, the Rangers maintained discipline. That changed in period two. Carl Hagelin got his elbow up into the head of Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson on a check along the LW boards at 10:32. The refs would assess a major penalty to the Rangers rookie and the Senators would take advantage.
- Karlsson, held in check for much of the game to this point, drew the Sens even on the ensuing PP. From behind the goal line on the RW side Karlsson snapped a puck toward the front of the net where it deflected off the skate of Michael Del Zotto and into the net. Filip Kuba earned the lone assist on the goal.
- Later Karlsson appeared to get away with a slew foot to Richards but the referees certainly did catch the retaliation and penalized Richards two minutes for roughing. The Rangers would kill off the PP.
- Despite an early advantage in play, the Rangers would only finish the period with a 12 – 10 lead in shots.
- Boyle would gain a measure of revenge and nearly record his second consecutive game-winning goal when he beat Anderson with a wrist shot similar to the one he potted Thursday. Ruslan Fedotenko and Del Zotto assisted.
- The Rangers seemed to be closing in on a two-game series lead until Nick Foligno would again knot the game up for the Senators. A shot attempt by Konopka kicked off Del Zotto and right onto the stick of Foligno. The Senators forward was able to flick the biscuit by Hank. Kyle Turris was credited with the secondary assist.
- Girardi would nearly put the Rangers ahead with less than three minutes to go. He slipped in from the right point and accepted a feed for a point blank opportunity but Anderson stopped Girardi’s snapshot.
- It wouldn’t take long for Ottawa to end the suspense in the extra session. With heavy traffic and action around Hank, Chris Neil banged home the rebound of a Zack Smith shot just 1:17 in and helped pull the Senators even with the Rangers in the series.
- Ottawa executed their game plan well. They wanted to play physical and they did. They got a ton of traffic to the front of the Rangers net and made things tougher on Hank. This game is further evidence why Paul MacLean is getting attention for a Jack Adams nomination.
- The Rangers game plan seems to be to take the body whenever Karlsson has the puck but were credited with just two on the young rearguard tonight. Yet early on it seemed as if Karlsson was turnover prone and hesitant as he appeared to be worried about getting hit. The plan can be successful but if they give him room Karlsson can hurt them.
- The Rangers played well defensively again, particularly against the Spezza line. His trio was held off the shore sheet and combined for just three shots on goal. Having the last change has allowed Torts to use the McDonagh/Girardi pair against the Spezza line and the Rangers have successfully neutralized the Senators three top goal scorers. That could be more difficult in Ottawa.
- I don’t believe the Hagelin elbow was purposeful but with Alfredsson exiting the game and not returning I would expect a suspension. It seems the number one criteria when determining if a play is suspension-worthy is whether the or not the recipient of the hit was hurt. Since Alfredsson missed the balance of the game this would fit the necessary criteria.
- Watching the game live I was confused as to how they considered Dubinsky to be the third man in the altercation/mugging between Boyle and Carkner. Of course Dubinsky was simply aiding a teammate who was being mercilessly pounded and not actually intervening in a fair fight between willing combatants.
For clarification purposes, I consulted the rule book. Here’s the excerpt from Rule 46.16, Third Man In as found on the NHL.com website:
“A game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress except when a match penalty is being imposed in the original altercation. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties incurred in the same incident.
This rule also applies to subsequent players who elect to intervene in the same or other altercations during the same stoppage of play.
Generally, this rule is applied when a fight occurs.”
The key phrase there is, “except when a match penalty is being imposed in the original altercation.” That’s exactly what happened with Carkner being tossed from the contest for jumping Boyle. So why then was Dubinsky tossed for his intervention?
Who knows how or if Dubinsky’s absence impacted the rest of the game but it seems clear the refs missed this call here.
The series takes a day off on Sunday before going back at it in Ottawa on Monday night, 7pm.