New York Hockey: Mark Stone

With the chance to close out the series at home against the Rangers, the Senators will have captain Daniel Alfredsson back in the lineup.

The 39-year-old veteran missed the past three games with a concussion suffered in Game 2 after a hit from Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin. Hagelin will also return after serving a three-game suspension for the hit.

Although Alfredsson's return has been confirmed, Senators coach Paul MacLean did not reveal the rest of his lineup; he said he is still "considering" his options.

One of those will be top prospect Jakob Silfverberg, who recently joined the team after earning playoff MVP honors in the Swedish Elite League. The 21-year-old winger finished with 24 goals and 30 assists in 49 games for Byrnas of the SEL.

MacLean also has another top prospect at his disposal in Mark Stone, who made an impressive NHL debut against the Rangers Saturday. The 19-year-old Winnipeg native, only weeks removed from finishing his junior hockey season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, set up Jason Spezza's first-period marker to record his first NHL point in the Senators 2-0 win at Madison Square Garden.

Rapid Reaction: Senators 2, Rangers 0

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
9:46
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Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: The odds are now against the Rangers, who suffered a pivotal 2-0 loss at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Only six teams in the post-lockout era have rebounded to win a series after dropping Game 5.

Ottawa's Craig Anderson was incredible in earning his fourth shutout of the season. En route to his 41-save effort, Anderson blanked the Blueshirts on a turning-point power-play late in the third.

Jason Spezza tallied both goals for Ottawa, including an empty-netter with less than a minute left in regulation. With the Senators now leading the series 3-2, the Rangers head back to Ottawa facing what would be a shattering elimination and stunning upset.

They will have to do so without their series MVP Brian Boyle. The gritty center suffered a concussion from a third-period hit by Ottawa's Chris Neil that will likely be reviewed by NHL's Department of Player Safety.

Rare lead: The played with their first lead of the entire series after Spezza's first-period marker at 9:18. The Senators have trailed the Rangers in regulation in all four of the previous games but rallied twice to beat New York in overtime.

Big jump: Making his NHL debut just weeks after finishing his junior season in the Western Hockey League, Mark Stone didn't seem fazed by being thrown into the fire. The 19-year-old prospect, who finished with 41 goals and 81 assists in 66 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings this season, set up Spezza's first goal of the 2012 playoffs. Stone replaced an injured Jesse Winchester in the lineup.

Tough crowd: The sellout audience at Madison Square Garden ushered the team off the ice with boos after a forgettable first period. The Rangers fell behind 1-0, but elicited the crowd's disgust after their third failed power-play opportunity.

Acting as captain: Taking exception to Colin Greening's hit on Marian Gaborik late in the second period, captain Ryan Callahan went after the Senators forward, drawing a roughing penalty at 17:23. The Rangers bailed out Callahan for his minor with a momentum-mounting penalty-killing effort to close out the period.

Down a man: Despite the emphasis on discipline-- a penalty-riddled Game 4 sapped the team's energy en route to a 3-2 OT loss in Ottawa -- the team spent six minutes of the second period down a man. Before Callahan's roughing minor, the Rangers were forced to kill off penalties to Ruslan Fedotenko (high-sticking) and Mike Rupp (charging).

Paging Shanahan: The league will likely review Chris Neil's third-period hit on center Brian Boyle that left the Rangers center slow to get up. Boyle played one shift on the penalty kill following the hit but was ruled "out" with a concussion after the game.

Up Next: Game 6: Rangers at Senators, 7 p.m. Monday.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
1:49
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At a glance: Tied at 2-2, the series returns to New York for a pivotal Game 5 at Madison Square Garden between the Rangers and Senators. So much for what was expected of a 1 vs. 8 match-up – the series has been as even as any throughout he first-round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The Rangers hope to reclaim momentum before heading back to Ottawa on Monday while the Senators aim for yet another upset without captain Daniel Alfredsson.

OT woes: Should Saturday’s contest head into overtime, the odds are not in New York’s favor. The Rangers have dropped both sudden death sessions this series and have failed to record an overtime win since April 29, 2007. Their mind-boggling skid stands at seven straight playoff overtime losses.

Separation anxiety: Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards appear to be separated once again. Although the tandem combined on the team’s top line during the second half of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, they were severed once again in Game 4.

Skipping stones: All indications are that Senators prospect Mark Stone is set to make his NHL debut Saturday. Should he be in Ottawa’s lineup for Game 5, the 19-year-old Winnipeg, Manitoba native is in for a daunting leap. The former sixth-round draft pick just recently finished his fourth season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and would be making the jump from junior hockey to the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to the show, kid.

Alfie update: Daniel Alfredsson will miss his third straight game after suffering a concussion in Game 3, but skated Saturday back in Ottawa and “made progress” according to Senators coach Paul MacLean. MacLean reported no changes to the status of injured forward Jesse Winchester.

Hang on, Hagelin: Carl Hagelin will serve the last of a three-game suspension for his hit on Alfredsson that forced the Senators captain from the game last Saturday. The Rangers have sorely missed Hagelin’s speed and forechecking pressure in the pair of game he has missed.

Stone to make NHL debut for Sens?

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
1:18
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It appears Senators prospect Mark Stone is headed for a monumental jump. Should he make his NHL debut Saturday against the Rangers, the 19-year-old Winnipeg native faces a daunting transition: going straight from junior hockey to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Senators coach Paul MacLean would not tip his hand on tonight's lineup, but the 6-3, 200-pound Stone skated with the team and sounded ready to get his first taste of NHL action.

"If I get in tonight, it will be something special for me and I'm excited to do it," said Stone, who recently finished his fourth season with 41 goals and 82 assists in 66 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.

With both captain Daniel Alfredsson and Jesse Winchester out for the Senators, Stone may provide a welcome shot in the arm for the team heading into Game 5 with the series tied 2-2.

"I think he brings some life and excitement," said Senators forward Nick Foligno. "We're excited to have him in the lineup."

Alternate captain Jason Spezza had a similar experience to Stone back in 2003, when he appeared for the Senators in the playoffs as a rookie, and said the situation is a "no-lose" for the former sixth-round pick. Essentially: little pressure and great opportunity.

"You have the chance to make good things happen."

• • •


Alfredsson, who did not make the trip with the team to New York, skated back in Ottawa and "made progress" according to MacLean. There were no changes to report on Winchester's status.

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