After dropping games three and four both by a score of 4-1, the Sens retreated from New York back home for game five. With a 3-2 series lead on the line, today’s afternoon game was tense, high paced and very emotional. You know, the usual.
The Sens’ offence came together re-energized, and propelled the Sens to a 5-4 overtime win over the New York Rangers. Mark Tuesday evening off your calendar, as the Sens could potentially defeat the Rangers to go to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2007!
With the way game four ended, and with Chris Neil drawing into the lineup for Ryan Dzingel, we couldn’t have expected anything different than today’s physical start. Big chances were exchanged at both ends, with scrums ensuing after the whistle.
It didn’t take long to break the ice, however, as Jesper Fast netted his third goal of the playoffs to give New York the early lead. Chris Wideman was caught pinching along the boards, and couldn’t catch up to the fast Fast who was wide open for the one-timer.
Just over a minute later, the Rangers would double their lead, as Ottawa turned the puck over to Nick Holden who sent a shot over the shoulder of Craig Anderson. It was a bit of a rough start for Andy, allowing two early after being pulled for Mike Condon just two days earlier.
It was looking dire for the Sens only five minutes in, although hope was re-instilled 50 seconds later, with Mark Stone putting the Sens on the board. Henrik Lundqvist played the puck along the boards, which caused a turnover. Chris Wideman took a shot from the point, which rebounded off Lundqvist and onto the stick of a battling Stone. The puck slid in, giving this game it’s third goal within a span of 1:56.
The Sens’ power play seemed reinvigorated today, throwing as many pucks as possible towards the net. It didn’t produce any goals, going 0-for-3, but whatever was happening while in New York seemed to be rid of.
Ottawa continued their momentum into the end of the second period, getting a few close chances to tie it up. Lundqvist made some incredible stops, though, including this robbery:
In the second period, Tanner Glass took an interference call on Dion Phaneuf, sending Ottawa to the power play. Chris Neil took objection, however, tossing his fists at Glass, picking up 10-minute misconduct as well as a roughing penalty to negate the call on Glass. Guy Boucher obviously didn’t take that into appreciation, playing Neil a total of 2:25 by the end of regulation, including zero minutes in the third period.
And then everyone felt much, much safer. pic.twitter.com/vBXSqrl60K— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) May 6, 2017
The play would settle down for a bit, until Ottawa would erase the Rangers’ lead off a goal from Mike Hoffman. Erik Karlsson made a dash through the neutral zone, feeding a pass to Clarke MacArthur on his right. MacArthur sent the puck to Mike Hoffman on his right, who shot the puck over a sprawling Lundqvist who couldn’t get over in time.
Ottawa wasn’t done yet, though. With all three first period goals coming in quick succession, Ottawa continued the trend, taking the lead 33 seconds after making the game a tie. Zack Smith would spin and put the puck towards the net, which would be tipped by Tom Pyatt. The puck would squeak through Lundqvist’s five hole and into the back of the net, something you won’t see very often. After being on their heels early, the Sens found themselves up 3-2.
New York responded with urgency, however, bringing the game back to even after a long stretch of pouring on the offensive pressure. Ryan McDonagh would get credit with the tipped goal, although it was Michael Grabner who would send the shot in. Grabner’s been a dangerous player against the Sens this series, now on a four game point streak (2-2-4 in that span).
The third frame saw both teams playing evenly matched, although at a slower pace than before. 12:48 in, Cody Ceci would completely lose coverage of Jimmy Vesey, who in a scramble in front, slashed the puck towards a wide open net. It looked like a sure goal, except Craig Anderson would toss his glove out, making what appeared to be a save-of-the year candidate.
Jimmy Vesey gets his first playoff goal. Nearly robbed by Craig Anderson pic.twitter.com/UAW6AnLiQJ— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 6, 2017
What you may notice though, is that although Anderson made the catch, the puck went past the goal line. Further review concluded that it was a good goal for New York, once again putting the Sens in a hole with limited time remaining.
With less than two minutes left, in desperation, Craig Anderson would head to the bench, trying as hard as possible to prevent New York from being able to close out the series at home.
Net empty, Derick Brassard would rush off the bench towards the net. The puck bounced off his leg, off the skate of Brendan Smith, and past the goal line to even this game at 4-4. The Canadian Tire Centre was electrified, witnessing Brassard score against his former team in the most crucial moment. Overtime would be needed.
In the extra frame, Ottawa would dominate, allowing only one shot attempt the entire OT. That one attempt would be quite the scare, though, as Grabner batted a flying puck out of the air which beat Anderson over his shoulder. The referee called no goal, which was confirmed after review due to a high stick.
That wouldn’t phase the Sens, however, who continued to fire on all cylinders. Around the six minute mark, Karlsson made a beautiful stretch pass up the ice, and we all know how those turn out. Burrows fed a pass to Kyle Turris, who fired a shot which was blocked by Dan Girardi. Turris picked the puck back up, danced his way past Girardi and slid the puck through Lundqvist’s five hole for the game winning goal. With his third career overtime winner in the playoffs, Turris surpassed Daniel Alfredsson for the most in Sens history, including this one against the Rangers in 2012. It was an incredible showing from the entire team, earning a 3-2 series lead with a chance to go to close it out on Tuesday.
- What would a Sens win be without Erik Karlsson turning in a stellar performance? He picked up three assists on the afternoon, and showed once again why he’s one of the best players in the world.
- Although he had a shaky start, Craig Anderson made some key saves late to keep the Sens in it. His positioning at times looked questionable, though, so hopefully he can build on today for a solid game six.
- At the other end, Henrik Lundqvist returned to his game two form, allowing a couple questionable goals that he would’ve saved in either of the last two games.
- Chris Neil’s insertion into the lineup was called into question by many entering today, and it didn’t pay off. If it was Boucher’s plan all along to only play him for only 2:25, why not just play Dzingel?
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau continued to be the Sens’ best forward this game, leading the team in CF%.
- Game-tying hero Derick Brassard led both teams with five shots on goal. Zibanejad came close with four.
- It was an up and down game for Chris Wideman, who although had some defensive lapses, also did his part in contributing in the offensive zone. He was noticeable tonight, both in the good and bad sense.
- On the other hand, his partner, Fredrik Claesson, looked fantastic in his first game back from being scratched. His defensive positioning was exceptional, and he used his booming shot to his advantage.
- Somehow leading the Rangers in Corsi percentage, Tanner Glass continued to get under the Sens’ skin all game.
- Finally, Kyle Turris was dangerous in a few ways, scoring the OT winner and also leading both teams tonight with nine hits.
The series takes a two day break, returning to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday at 7:30 for game six. Let’s finish it!