Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Karlsson leads Senators past Rangers into East finals

Karlsson leads Senators past Rangers into East finals

The Ottawa Senators are headed to the Eastern Conference finals. The fourth line failed to get back after the puck left New York's zone, leaving Ottawa on an odd man rush. After all, it's been a while.

"Obviously it's a new year, new teams, (but) for some of us, it means a little bit more", Anaheim center Ryan Kesler said. "We knew it was going to be probably the hardest period of the playoffs for us so far". Or because of the favorable draw that dropped the Rangers into a less imposing side of the playoff bracket, thus guaranteeing they would avoid the three best teams - Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus - until the conference finals, a stage that eludes them yet again.

Look, I'm not at all a Rags fan, outside of occasional Chris Kreider shipping, but, please, win it tonight, Rangers! He joins Ray Emery, who did it three times.

However, Jean-Gabriel Pageau's empty-netter with seven seconds left eliminated any doubt the Senators would be moving on to the final four.

The Rangers tied the series with two dominant 4-1 wins at Madison Square Garden, but the Senators returned home and won Game 5 in overtime to take the lead and then finished off the Rangers in NY.

Still, the Senators are returning to a building where they were outscored by an aggregate 8-2 in Games 3 and 4.

Only moments after Zibanejad brought the crowd to life with his second of the playoffs to pull the Rangers to within a goal, Karlsson took a pass from Bobby Ryan and fired it past Lundqvist at 15:52 to restore a two-goal lead for the Senators. Maybe, maybe not. One big factor working in Ottawa's favour is that their No. 1 netminder, Craig Anderson, has been much better than the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist this season.

Bradley scores 29, Celtics power past Wizards, 123-101
It's just not quite clear how related these two facts are - so bear with us as we dive in. "Tonight it happened to be me". KEEP AN EYE ON: Isaiah Thomas' free-throw attempts. "We just gotta stay in the moment", Thomas said of Friday's Game 6.

Warriors rebuff Jazz in Game 1
Curry, who made 7 of 11 shots from the field, tweaked an ankle in the third quarter. "Just routine maintenance", he said. But if we're taking the ball out every time, it's hard for us to get into a rhythm in a transition game.

Judges raise thorny questions about revised Trump travel ban
Critics say Trump's executive order is nothing more than the Muslim ban he promised during his presidential campaign. Recall, President Trump said he'd close the border to Muslims on the campaign trail, hinted at it again this year.

"It's important to take care of business when you're in your home building and I thought we've done some real good things at home so we've gotta find what gave us the success in those two games and try to apply it for game 6", said Rangers forward Derek Stepan. Defensively, the Ottawa Senators are allowing 2.6 goals per game and are killing 79.7 percent of their opponents power plays. They've been a very fun group who have overcome a lot of adversity just to make the postseason.

Period one ended 2-0, forty minutes away from the Eastern Conference Finals. NY had three power plays and more scoring chances, but the Senators were aggressive on defense while blocking nine shots in the opening period - and 20 for the game.

Kreider had a marvellous opportunity to tie the game when Zibanejad hit him with a flawless pass and Kreider tried to go high on Anderson, but fanned on his shot. The protocol says a player must be removed if a spotter sees symptoms after taking a blow to his head or upper torso from another player's shoulder, his head hitting the ice or taking a punch to the head. Game 5 was perhaps the Senators' best played game, as they drove to the net and caused havoc in the blue paint. The players were extremely poised. "They've developed a team soul - there's a collectiveness to this group that really displayed an ongoing bond and a growing bond throughout the entire year". It was Mika Zibanejad wreaking havoc on the Senators once again, this time springing Chris Kreider for a breakaway goal.

Ottawa has allowed the first goal in every game and has trailed for nearly 180 minutes over the series. With the Senators continually pressuring, they eventually doubled up their lead nearing the end of the first period. The win Tuesday was the 18th he's earned all-time in the playoffs.

In their first home playoff loss since Game 3 of the first round, the Rangers were unable to slow down Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who recorded a goal and an assist despite playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel. He set up the game's first goal and scored the eventual victor in the second period, then limped into the Senators' dressing room having skated a game-high 28:44.

It's those decisions more than anything else that have the Rangers facing elimination when they host the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of their second-round series on Tuesday night.

What's next: The Senators will face the victor of Wednesday night's second-round Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in what will be the third conference finals appearance in franchise history and first since 2007.

Like this: