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5 Keys: Rangers at Senators, Game 2

Ottawa must continue to pile up shots; New York needs to win more battles

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS at SENATORS

3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports 2

Ottawa leads best-of-7 series 1-0

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators can take a 2-0 lead against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference Second Round series Saturday in Game 2 at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators won Game 1, 2-1, on a goal by captain Erik Karlsson on a shot from the corner with 4:11 remaining.

"We probably played the best game of this playoffs so far (Thursday)," Karlsson said.

The Rangers are 12-5-2 in their past 19 games (including playoffs) at Canadian Tire Centre.

Here are five keys to Game 2:

 

1. Rangers need more contributions

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Friday told his players to come up with a better effort in Game 2.

"I think there's a lot of players in our group right now after (Thursday night's) game that have to be better. If our intentions, and they are, are to win, then you've got to play better than we did (Thursday) night."

Although he gave Ottawa credit, Vigneault said some reads and execution on the part of his players has to be better.

"I thought 5-on-5, I liked a lot of the things that we did," he said. "In my mind, they won the specialty-team battles. They got some Grade A looks on their power play and they got a couple of chances on ours. That's definitely an area we're addressing with our group here and that we need to be better."

 
2. Senators thrive in close games

All seven of the Senators' Stanley Cup Playoff games have been decided by one goal and they look very comfortable and patient playing in close games.

"All season long we've played tight games so we've had lots of practice," goaltender Craig Anderson said. "We're not a team that is going to score six, seven goals a game and blow teams out. We're the type of team that is going to stay even-keeled, stay in the moment. Whether it's up by a goal, down by a goal or tied, we seem to be in those games a lot."

Why are the Senators so comfortable in those games? "Belief," Anderson said. "We've come together as a group and we all care about each other in the room and I think that goes a long way when you're willing to pay the price for the individual sitting next to you."

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Anderson stifles McDonagh's break

 

3. Rangers must win more battles

Senators defenseman Marc Methot did a good job to keep the puck in the Rangers zone in a battle with New York forward Rick Nash seconds before Karlsson scored the winning goal. Although not addressing that play specifically, captain Ryan McDonagh said the Rangers need to crank up the intensity in puck battles.

"If you look at it, they probably came up with the puck a little bit more than us, than what we like as far as battles along the wall and coming up with pucks and that's something that ultimately can decide a game," McDonagh said. "It's going to be tight, so if you can come up with the puck a little bit more and show that will and compete level in battles, that's going to help us."

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: McDonagh nets PPG from the point

 

4. Senators pile up shots

The Senators set their playoff record with 21 shots in the first period in Game 1 against Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped all of them, a personal record for saves in a period in the playoffs. Ottawa had 43 shots on goal in the game (tying the amount they had in Game 5 in the First Round against the Boston Bruins). The Rangers had 35.

"Did we get more shots than we expected to get? Yes," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "But that was our plan. We know we can't beat this guy with 20 shots. We can't even beat him with 30 shots. We're going to need 40 shots and above. Even with over 40 shots and so many high end scoring chances, we only got two in. That's how it's going to be."

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Lundqvist shuts down Karlsson's bid

 

5. Play in neutral zone

The Senators success has been based on their ability to make it difficult for the opposition to get through the neutral zone.

"It's tough against their neutral zone to move the puck," Rangers forward Derek Stepan said. "When we get pucks in behind them and we try to play with pace, play a simple game with a fast pace, I think that's going to be the key."

Senators forward Mark Stone said they will have to keep doing what they're doing in Game 2.

"I thought we did a pretty good job in the neutral zone," Stone said. "That's when we're at our best, when we're clogging up the neutral zone. We played our game. When we play our game, win or lose, you feel good about it a little bit more after the game. You never want to go out not playing the way you're supposed to play. We're playing the way that has got us here now and we'll see where it takes us."

 

Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller -- Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Michael Grabner -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Tanner Glass, Adam Clendening, Kevin Klein, Matt Puempel, Steven Kampfer, Brandon Pirri

Injured: None

 

Senators projected lineup

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Alexandre Burrows

Clarke MacArthur -- Derick Brassard -- Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Mark Stone

Viktor Stalberg -- Zack Smith -- Tommy Wingels

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Fredrik Claesson -- Ben Harpur

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

Scratched: Tom Pyatt, Chris Kelly, Chris Wideman, Chris Neil, Colin White, Jyrki Jokipakka, Chris DiDomenico

Injured: Mark Borowiecki (lower body)

 

Status report

Each coach said there could be lineup changes. "Depending on how you feel certain guys have put out, as a coach, you're always looking to put the best lineup on the table and that's definitely what we're going to try and do (Saturday)," Vigneault said. … Boucher said Pyatt, who was injured in Game 4 against the Bruins, has been cleared to play, but wasn't sure if he wanted to change his lineup.

 

Who's hot

Zibanejad (one goal, three assists) and Zuccarello (three goals, one assist) each have four points in the playoffs. .... Nash has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past 16 playoff games. … Lundqvist has allowed 13 goals in seven starts (.948 save percentage). … Brassard has eight points (two goals, six assists), and Ryan (four goals, three assists) and Karlsson (one goal, six assists) each have seven points … Anderson has allowed 14 goals in seven starts (.930 save percentage).

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