Friday, March 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Senators 3, Rangers 2
By Katie Strang
What it means: In a chippy game that resembled the hotly contested series between the two clubs in the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Senators snapped a four-game skid with a 3-2 win over the Rangers. Ottawa's Jakob Silfverberg snapped the tie in the third period, burying a rebound and beating Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with less than five minutes remaining. Twenty-one-year-old Sens netminder Robin Lehner made 33 saves to earn his first win of the season and halt the Rangers' four-game winning streak. The Rangers have not beaten the Senators in a regular-season game at Madison Square Garden since October 2009.
Rare goals: After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Rangers rallied to knot the game at 2 on a couple of rare goals. Rick Nash tallied his team-leading ninth goal to cut the Sens’ lead in half at 11:03, rare only because it was his first goal of the season that did not come in the third period. Brad Richards capitalized on a nice drop pass from Carl Hagelin later in the period to tie the game and snap a 15-game goal-scoring slump. Ripping a shot past Senators goaltender Lehner from the left circle, Richards scored in his first game back since missing two games with injury.
Rough stuff: After blowing up Ottawa’s Jim O'Brien with a big hit around the net, Rangers tough guy Micheal Haley dropped the gloves against Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips. Haley won the bout and the Rangers ended up with a power play, as Phillips was hit with 19 penalty minutes in total, including a two-minute misconduct penalty for instigating while wearing a visor. It should be noted that it was actually Haley who dropped the gloves first.
Oh, Alfie: Carrying the puck almost full circle in the Rangers' zone, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson sent a nifty pass through Marian Gaborik’s legs that led to the Sens’ first goal of the night. Ottawa’s Zack Smith tipped Sergei Gonchar’s shot and the puck bounced off the ice, giving Lundqvist little chance to make a stop as Ottawa took a 1-0 lead at 6:18.
Surprise scratch: Although Richards’ return was assumed to be the end of Micheal Haley’s recall or Stu Bickel’s turn at forward, neither player was scratched to make room for Richards. Instead, it was hulking center Brian Boyle who watched the game from the press box. Although Boyle was scratched for three games previously this season, he seemed to improve from his early struggles. It is not immediately clear whether Boyle was a healthy scratch or not.