5 Reasons: Why Senators advanced
Play of defenseman Erik Karlsson, goalie Craig Anderson helped Ottawa defeat Rangers, reach conference finalby Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in their 25-year history with a 4-2 win in Game 6 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
The Senators played in the conference final against the New Jersey Devils in 2003, losing in seven games. They defeated the Buffalo Sabres in five games in 2007.
Here are 5 reasons the Senators advanced:
1. ERIK KARLSSON
Ottawa's captain dominated the series despite playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel, and there were times when he was clearly experiencing discomfort.
Still, Karlsson had seven points (two goals, five assists) to lead the Senators in scoring. He also led Ottawa in average ice time at 27:29 per game (defenseman Cody Ceci was next at 24:00) despite not playing in the third period of Game 4.
With the Senators protecting a 3-2 third-period lead in Game 6, Karlsson played 6:27 of the final 8:24 and finished with 28:44.
Video: Clutch Performance: Karlsson continues to perform
2. STARS COME OUT
Five of Ottawa's top-six forwards -- Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan, Derick Brassard, Clarke MacArthur and Mike Hoffman -- combined for four points (one goal, three assists) through Games 1-4.
In Games 5 and 6, those five combined for 11 points (five goals, six assists). Ottawa won 5-4 in overtime in Game 5 before taking Game 6 to win the series.
The emergence of the Senators' top scorers made the difference late in the series.
Goalie Craig Anderson saved his best performance for Game 6, when he made 37 saves to help eliminate the Rangers.
"They had a huge push at the start of the third period, and [Anderson] makes four or five huge saves to keep the [3-2] lead," Stone said. "That could be the difference in the series; just getting that one huge performance from him might have sealed the deal for us."
Anderson missed 31 regular-season games after his wife Nicholle was diagnosed with throat cancer.
"It's just a great end to the series with him playing that well in such a difficult environment with what he's lived through this year," coach Guy Boucher said. "He's done that all year under difficult circumstances, was able to tune everything out and do the job."
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Anderson shuts down Zuccarello with pad
4. JEAN-GABRIEL PAGEAU
After scoring 12 goals in 82 regular-season games, Pageau had six in six games, including the empty-netter that put away Game 6.
Four of Pageau's goals came in Game 2, when he scored twice in the final 3:19 of the third period to tie the game 5-5, then won it when he scored his fourth goal of the game at 2:54 of the second overtime.
5. PENALTY KILL DOES THE JOB
Led by Anderson's goaltending, and the work of defensemen Ceci and Dion Phaneuf and forwards Pageau and Viktor Stalberg, the Senators allowed two goals in 24 shorthanded situations (91.7 percent) against the Rangers.
The penalty kill came up especially big in Game 6, holding New York scoreless on four power plays, including Brassard's four-minute minor for high sticking in the first period.