Senators one win away from advancing

NEW YORK – They’re trying to win it for their captain.
And now they just might.
The No.-8 seeded Ottawa Senators will have a chance to topple the No. 1-seeded New York Rangers when they meet in the sixth game of this best-of-seven series on Monday in Ottawa (7 p.m.).
With a 2-0 victory on Saturday night, the Senators lead the series 3-2 and have a chance to advance in the playoffs for the first time since they went to the Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
When Daniel Alfredsson got knocked out of the series with a concussion in the second game of the series, his teammates rallied behind him, and coach Paul MacLean said that spirit is very much the motivation behind the team’s play.
“I think everyone has a tremendous amount of respect for Daniel,” said MacLean.
“The way he went out of this series, and the stage he’s at in his career, I think is a legitimate caring of his teammates for him, and an opportunity (for him) to continue playing.”
Jason Spezza, with his first goals of the series, scored at 9:18 of the first period and then got the insurance goal into an empty net.
In between those goals, Craig Anderson played what was probably his best game in an Ottawa sweater, stopping all 41 shots the Rangers threw at him. Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves.
Mark Stone, on his first shift in the NHL, got an assist on Spezza’s first goal.
Spezza’s goals were his first in the playoffs since May 19, 2007.
Anderson said his feeling when the game ended was relief.
“I think everyone in here put the hard hats on and went to work tonight,” he said.
“(Lundqvist’s) been really good this series. He stole Game 3 for them. I just wanted to make sure I gave my team a chance to win, because he’s a very good goaltender and he makes the saves his team needs.
“We just got lucky on all the bounces tonight.”
Lundqvist said that going to Ottawa and facing elimination is “not a fun situation.
“It’s been a tight series all along, so we have to regroup.
“Someone needs to step up and score that big goal for us, and that’s going to be the difference.”
Spezza said while the heat was on for him to start scoring, he felt he was playing well and the team was in a good position with the series tied. So he didn’t try to change the way he was playing.
“I was just trying to play good defensively and not give them anything, and then I got rewarded with a good play from (Stone), and then we locked it down defensively.” he said.
“I’m not going to change my game just because I don’t have any goals. Obviously you’d like to score more, but this is a tight series.”
It was another rough game and another hit, this one by Chris Neil than knocked 6-7 Brian Boyle out of the game and maybe the series with a concussion, is likely to draw the league’s attention.
Neil didn’t see anything wrong with it.
“I’m a physical player out there and I think it was a clean hit,” he said.
“He was slow getting up but I think I just knocked the wind out of him. I caught him right in the chest. He’s a big man. It takes a lot out of me giving those hits, too.”

The Rangers had every reason to be frustrated after the first period.
They outshot the Senators 14-9 and had the run of play, thanks in large part to the momentum gained from three Ottawa penalties.
But they found themselves behind 1-0.
Spezza’s goal at 9:18 was a killer. It came 27 seconds after a hooking penalty to Sergei Gonchar ended. Stone found Spezza in the right circle and he put a shot through Lundqvist.
That quieted the raucous Madison Square Garden crowd, at least momentarily, but the Senators would still have to weather two more penalties, one to Jared Cowen for interference, and one to Spezza for roughing with just 2:15 to go in the period.
Spezza should have resisted.
In a scrum by the Ottawa net, he got goaded into retaliating after taking a punch from Brandon Dubinsky.
When Spezza popped Dubinsky in return, he got caught and penalized.
Spezza was hot, too.
At the end of the period, instead of going straight off, he skated around at centre ice looking for Dubinsky.

Each team took 12 shots in the second period but you could have fooled anyone.
It seemed as if the Rangers had taken twice that many, they were in the Ottawa zone so much. Indeed, with about seven minutes left in the period, the Senators had taken only five shots.
They were fortunate to get continued excellent play from Anderson.
Like the Rangers in the first period, the Senators got three power plays in the second period. But also like the Rangers, they couldn’t do very much with them, although the presence of Stone on it gave it a new look.
Ranger captain Ryan Callahan took what could have potentially been New York’s worst penalty with just 2:37 left when he went after Colin Greening after Greening levelled Marian Gaborik with a clean hit.
Greening kept his cool, though. So did his teammates. So Callahan went off alone for roughing. Unluckily, the Senators couldn’t do anything with the advantage.

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