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Marc Methot's unsung play sets up Senators for Game 1 win

Keeps puck in Rangers zone seconds before Erik Karlsson's game-winning goal

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot missed the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of a finger injury and joked when he returned that his game wasn't built on puck-handling anyway.

But Methot made a good skill play to keep the puck inside the New York Rangers blue line seconds before Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Senators series coverage]

 

Methot had the puck skip past him near the left faceoff circle but then got between Rangers forward Rick Nash and the puck before spinning it back into the zone.

"It happened so fast and I'm so bad at this stuff, I vaguely remember the play. I'm dead serious," Methot said. "I remember Nash was beside me and kind of had a quick little battle and the puck was on its way out, and I was able to reach for it and get it.

"Once in a while, it will happen and it's rare, but we'll take it. It ended up being a goal, which is awesome."

Senators forward Mike Hoffman ragged the puck along the left boards before throwing it behind the net to Karlsson, who scored from along the goal line in the right corner with 4:11 left in the third period.

Methot shook his head in disbelief when asked how Karlsson could score from such a sharp angle.

"He's a special player and I've said this before, he just seems to get those clutch goals," Methot said. "I don't know how you score from that area and what possessed him to throw it at the net the way he did, but that's what separates him from almost every other player in the League, and we're glad to have him on our team."

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Karlsson nets tough shot for lead

The Senators set their record with 21 shots in the first period, compared to 12 for the Rangers, but it remained 0-0 because of New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Methot said it would have been easy for the Senators to get discouraged, but instead it proved to them they could compete with the Rangers.

"We realized that we belonged here and we're giving ourselves a good chance," Methot said. "Anytime you're getting opportunities, sure it can get demoralizing when you're not burying them. Just knowing those chances are coming and we potentially can get that lead is huge. It's good for the team's confidence."

Though the Game 1 win provides a confidence boost, Methot said the Senators are ready for a long series.

"The one thing we know is that we're playing the New York Rangers here," Methot said. "There's no way we're going to let ourselves get too high here. This is Game 1 and we still have a ways to go. We know we still have at least two games in their barn.

"But you're putting yourself in a good position when you win that first game, so we'll take it."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports 2).

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