GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
One thing was certain among the New York Rangers
on Friday -- they expect the Ottawa Senators
to be better in Game 2 than they were in Game 1.
That could be disconcerting, as the Senators didn't play poorly in the series opener.
The Rangers used three quick strikes to blow open a one-goal game and roll to a 4-2 victory Thursday in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. But up until that offensive outburst, the Senators were pressing for the tying goal midway through the second period and were a goal away from changing the complexion of the contest.
That tightness of Game 1 wasn't lost on Brad Richards
"They played really well last night," Richards said. "There was a momentum swing in the game we were able to grab, but they could've grabbed it too. We have to realize we're going to have to be a lot better.
"They had the puck a lot in the second period. If they score a goal and make it 1-1, it might be different."
The Senators held a 22-12 shots advantage at the halfway point of the game and fired home two goals in the third period to make things interesting. The game had long since been decided by the time the Senators made the score respectable, but that late surge combined with the first half of the game definitely grabbed the Rangers' attention.
"They have a great team over there," forward Brandon Dubinsky
said. "They've got five or six guys that are world-class talents and can be dangerous with the puck. We expect them to be at their best tomorrow. We have to be ready to elevate our game and match their intensity."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo