Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Senators 2

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
9:43
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: Unlike the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers proved they can hold on to a big lead. After captain Ryan Callahan's first-period marker, the Rangers tallied two more in the second to bury the Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

With the Rangers leading 1-0 midway through the second, coach John Tortorella called a pivotal timeout after which the top-seeded Blueshirts rattled off three straight goals. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson spoiled Henrik Lundqvist's shutout bid in the third, but the star goaltender surrendered only two goals on 32 shots. The Rangers now take a 1-0 lead in the series heading into Game 2 at home on Saturday.

Captain comeback: The Rangers were without Callahan for last year's first-round matchup against the Capitals, but the 27-year-old captain marked his postseason return with the game's first goal. Burying Anton Stralman's rebound, Callahan slid a sharp-angle shot behind Craig Anderson for a 1-0 Rangers lead at 12:01 of the first.

Key timeout: With the Senators gaining traction in the second period, Rangers coach John Tortorella used his timeout with 10:09 left to settle down his troops. Whether it was the brief breather or something he said, it worked. The team rattled off a pair of goals to take a 3-0 lead and outshot the Senators 8-2 for the remainder of the period.

Goal for Gaborik: While Garden faithful was taunting the officials for a tandem of bad calls, sniper Marian Gaborik rectified the situation with his first goal of the playoffs. The three-time 40-goal scorer drove to the net and beat Anderson five-hole for a 2-0 Rangers lead at 16:26 of the second.

Going for jugular: With a 2-0 lead late in the seconds, Brian Boyle gave the Rangers a huge boost with his sixth goal in eight games, snapping a shot from the slot past Anderson for a three-goal lead with less than a minute remaining in the middle frame.

Piling on: Carl Hagelin's strong forechecking effort led to the Rangers fourth goal. The rookie winger hounded the puck behind Ottawa's net, allowing Brad Richards to bury the team's fourth goal of the game. The 31-year-old center has 22 career playoff goals.

Waiting game: Although top prospect Chris Kreider signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the team on Tuesday, the Rangers are not rushing the 20-year-old winger into the lineup. Kreider, who opted to forgo his senior season at Boston College to turn pro, watched the game from the owner's box with fellow scratches John Scott, Jeff Woywitka and Steve Eminger.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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