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It's been a brutal and vicious series between the Rangers and Senators, and with Game 7 on the line Thursday at Madison Square Garden, we might not have seen the worst yet.
The five ugliest plays of the series so far:
Enraged by Brian Boyle's gloves-on punching of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson in Game 1, hulking defenseman Matt Carkner went after the Rangers center less than three minutes into Game 2. Carkner attacked Boyle and punched him repeatedly while Boyle was on his back on the ice, in a defenseless position, earning Carkner a one-game suspension in a vicious game. Afterward, Sens brawler Zenon Konopka declared that there would be plenty of "blood and stitches" before the series was over. Turns out he was right.
The Senators had a scare when captain Daniel Alfredsson went down after Carl Hagelin's suspension-earning elbow to the head in Game 2. The 39-year-old Alfredsson attempted to come back before Game 3 in Ottawa but suffered a setback that held him out of the lineup until Game 6. Hagelin was slapped with a three-game suspension.
The Senators were not the only ones to lose a player to concussion. While the Senators had Alfredsson for Game 6, the Rangers were without Boyle, their series MVP, after Chris Neil's hard hit in Game 5 left him woozy. The league did not suspend or fine Neil, but coach John Tortorella was fuming afterward. Tortorella likened the play to the hit by Phoenix's Raffi Torres that sent Chicago's Marian Hossa off the ice on a stretcher. Just hours after Torres was hit with a 25-game suspension, Tortorella suggested the league deliver a similar one to Neil. "They have a blueprint," he said. Neil didn't win any friends on the Rangers after Game 6, either. The gritty winger issued a thinly veiled threat toward Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, warning him about retribution for his third-period hit that left Neil slow to get up in the third period of the Sens' 3-2 loss. Said Neil, "I'm sure I'll catch him with his head down one of these times."
The goal itself -- suspect both because of the apparent kicking motion by Neil and what appeared to be a missed interference call -- caused controversy, as did goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's colorful tirade after the game. Lundqvist said the ruling was an "absolute joke" and hinted that the league was conspiring to affect the outcome of the game, comments for which he will likely be fined. But the drama didn't end there. The league also investigated an apparent kick during the fracas by Senators winger Milan Michalek on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi. The league later warned the Senators but did not issue a fine or suspension.
After sitting out three games with a concussion, Alfredsson's return was not the triumphant comeback for which he had hoped. In fact, the mild-mannered Swede suffered an uncharacteristic meltdown in the third period, breaking his stick on the Senators' bench and abusing a water bottle in frustration. He expressed remorse for the incident Tuesday, incidentally the same day he was named as one of three finalists for the Masterton trophy, which rewards perseverance and sportsmanship.