NEW YORK -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean made a last-minute lineup change Saturday night before Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Rangers, inserting some grit in the form of forward Zenon Konopka and defenseman Matt Carkner.
Carkner packed a punch on his first shift, and it helped change the tenor of the game, a 3-2 overtime win for the Senators that evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
After delivering a clean check to Rangers forward Brian Boyle at the 2:15 mark, Carkner dropped his gloves and punched Boyle down to the ice, where he continued to connect with punches. Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky was the first player to the pile, then everyone paired off during the wild fracas.
When the smoke cleared, Carkner received two minutes for roughing, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. Dubinsky was also ejected from the contest as the third man into an altercation and also received two minutes for roughing.
A furious Dubinsky skated from the penalty box to the Rangers locker room, but not before slamming a Gatorade bucket to the ground on his way down the tunnel.
Following the game, both MacLean and coach John Tortorella were tight-lipped about the incident. Carkner and Dubinsky were not made available to the media, and Boyle didn't offer any comment on the incident.
The Senators lacked an edge in Game 1, but they certainly brought it in Game 2.
"The Pittsburgh Penguins in '91 and '92 did it, but that's not the makeup of our team," said Konopka, who assisted on Nick Foligno's game-tying goal late in the third period that sent the game to overtime. "We have to outwork teams and get dirty. We're going to get into the tough areas and win puck battles, and we did a pretty good of that tonight.
"We thought that we could get more physical. We can play either way. We've got skill guys, we've got physical guys. We felt that we needed to be a little harder on their players and we were tonight. This is old-time hockey and that's how hockey is supposed to be played. There's going to be a lot of stitches and blood before it's done. This is going to be a great series."
While Boyle wouldn't address what Carkner did, he acknowledged the Senators raised their game, something the Rangers will need to do in Game 3 on Monday.
"It's going to get elevated every night as we go through here," Boyle said. "We have to keep trying to raise our game, raise our level of intensity throughout. I'm sure they are going to do the same."
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie