The Rangers lost a frustrating game to the Ottawa Senators tonight, 3-2 in overtime. It was frustrating because the Rangers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead (on two power play goals no less), and then allowed Ottawa to control the play and eventually claw their way back before Kyle Turris ended the game 2:42 into the extra frame.
- The Rangers jumped out to an early lead, just :49 seconds into the game. Brad Richards won an offensive zone face-off and was able to gain position in the slot. Marian Gaborik worked the puck off the wall and hit Richards for a nice chance. Craig Anderson seemed to get handcuffed by the shot and sent a juicy rebound to the weak side. Anton Stralman jumped up and snapped a shot past Anderson from the slot. This goal served as a reminder of being able to establish possession in the offensive zone off the draw when your team has the man-advantage.
- The Rangers struck again on the power play just 6 minutes later. Dan Girardi was able to keep an Ottawa clearing attempt in the zone and made a nifty little behind the back pass to Brad Richards which opened up the ice on the far side. Richards put a hard, low shot on Anderson, which created a rebound and ensuing scramble in front. Marian Gaborik had a couple of whacks at the rebound, which eventually found its way onto Ryan Callahan’s stick for an easy tap in. Good net front presence by the Captain, and solid work by Gaborik staying diligent on the scramble in front.
- The Senators would cut the lead to one on a play that the Rangers fell victim to unfortunate timing. A Rangers’ power play had just concluded and Craig Anderson made a tremendous save on Staal, who had jumped into the play. The ensuing clearing pass by Jason Spezza caught Carkner at the Rangers’ blue line, who found Milan Michalek for a beautiful backhand shot top-shelf. John Mitchell, who was covering for Staal’s pinch, couldn’t keep up with the speedy Ottawa winger. The score should have been 3-0 on that play, but instead the Ranger’s lead was cut in half.
- Sergei Gonchar would tie the game on the power play with 2:11 to go in the second. The Rangers won the defensive zone draw and Chris Neil beat two Ranger players to gain possession behind the net. A deflected centering pass found its way to Gonchar at the point who put a hard shot on a screened Lundqvist. This goal obviously wouldn’t have occurred had Neil not powered his way through two players, but Hank’s positioning on the shot was not his best and got just enough of the shot to make it heartbreaking.
3-2 Senators (OT)
- For the second time in the series, the Sens victimized the Rangers quickly in overtime. The Rangers started strong, maintaining possession in the offensive zone and creating some chances. The Senators transitioned quickly into a fairly innocuous two on two, and that’s where things broke down. O’Brien tried to draw Stralman into falling for the criss-cross drop pass to Turris, but the Rangers defense did not bite. Unfortunately, Turris was able to use Stralman as a screen and snapped a perfect shot off barely through his legs and past a screened Lundqvist into the upper corner. That’s twice this series that the Senators were able to score a huge goal by barely sneaking a puck through a Rangers defenseman. Had that puck been a quarter of an inch to the left or right, it’s a nice block and the play continues.
You know what really grinds my gears?
- Craig Anderson seems to have a guardian angel on his shoulder in this series doesn’t he? There have been countless times this series that he has had a puck slip behind him, only to be bailed out by a defenseman/post/random bounce. This isn’t to say that Anderson has played well or had some big saves, but he has gotten quite a bit of backing from lady luck through the first four games.
Well we are going back to the Garden, where the Rangers can hopefully take control of this series. Game 5 is Saturday night at the World’s Most Famous Arena.