Lundqvist’s 22-save performance lifts Rangers over Senators; series tied 2-2
Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire Centre.
Oscar Lindberg scored twice for the Rangers, and Nick Holden and Chris Kreider each added a goal. New York’s bottom six forwards did the heavy lifting offensively, as that group finished with two goals and five assists for seven points in the win. Tanner Glass recorded two assists, and the triumvirate of Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner each had an assist.
Kyle Turris scored the Senators’ lone goal as Ottawa dropped its second straight in the series, but that is a subplot to potentially three bigger issues. First is that captain Erik Karlsson did not play the third period. Karlsson, who said after the Game 6 win over Boston in the Eastern Conference quarter-final he had been playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel, fell awkwardly
late in the second after battling for a puck along the boards with Miller. Karlsson finished with a shot and three attempted shots in 14:54 of ice time spanning the first two periods.
The second issue for Ottawa is that Craig Anderson allowed three goals on 20 shots in two periods before being replaced by Mike Condon. Condon stopped 9-of-10 shots in the third.
Finally, the Senators also lost their composure, especially in the third period. Dion Phaneuf was ejected late in the third for fighting Brendan Smith — who was also ejected — and Bobby Ryan was assessed a two-minute minor for slashing Dan Girardi and a 10-minute misconduct with 2:28 left.
The final 30 seconds of play devolved into a series of fights beginning with a bout involving Glass and Turris. The following faceoff saw the on-ice officiating crew have to break up wrestling matches involving players from both sides.
During Wednesday’s off day, Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the need to play tighter defensively in the neutral zone and in their end of the ice. And the Senators’ structure was sounder than it had been in Games 2 and 3. The game resembled a modern-era playoff hockey instead of the free flowing style New York employs.
Yet it was the Rangers who opened the scoring for the fourth straight game with Holden’s perfectly placed shot between Anderson’s blocker and pad at 14:04 of the first giving New York a 1-0 lead. Holden’s goal was his first of 2017 playoffs and his fourth career goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He scored three times in Colorado’s seven playoff games in 2013-14.
The deficit after one period was 1-0. By the second intermission, it was 3-0 due to the play of Lindberg and New York’s fourth line.
New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider (20) and Ottawa Senators’ Dion Phaneuf (2) fight during the second period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday in New York.