NEW YORK -- For a team on the brink of elimination at the hands of a heavy underdog, the New York Rangers are in pretty good spirits.
The eighth-seeded Senators became the first team in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series to win consecutive games, beating the top-seeded Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden Saturday night to grab a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 set for Monday night at Scotiabank Place.
Following the game, coach John Tortorella talked about how his team's performance in the loss was one of its best in the series.
"I feel better about the team after tonight's game than a couple of wins that we've had," Tortorella said. "So we go to Ottawa and have to play the same way and keep banging away and see if we can score some goals. Everything about our game was good except our power play struggled, but that's why it's a series and they have to win four."
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The Rangers did everything right in Game 5, but they couldn't solve Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 41 saves. The Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play and struggled to amass consistent attack-zone time, but still generated seven shots with the man-advantage.
Captain Ryan Callahan said it's paramount that the team maintains its confidence with a do-or-die game on the horizon.
"You're going to run into hot goalies and some good defense in the playoffs," Callahan said. "It just comes down to one game and we have to go to Ottawa and win the hockey game. We have a resilient group and we have confidence. We have to win that one and come back here and see what happens."
There's some good news and bad news for the Rangers heading into Game 6.
The good news is Carl Hagelin, who has missed the past three games due to a suspension that came as the result of an elbow to the head of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, will return to the lineup. The bad news is Brian Boyle suffered a concussion after taking a hit from Ottawa's Chris Neil and is "out," according to Tortorella.
Rookie Chris Kreider replaced Hagelin for the past three games, and Tortorella said Kreider isn't a sure thing to come out of the lineup Monday. Kreider played 11:11 in his debut, just 3:29 in his following game and 7:34 in Game 5.
"He may get more minutes because some other guys simply haven't done the job," Tortorella said. "We're at that situation now whether you're young, old or medium-aged, you're going to play if you're playing well."
Marian Gaborik was held off the scoreboard for the fourth straight game and has just one goal in the series. Gaborik had just two shots in Game 5, but he was engaged physically, delivering a big hit on Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar in the game's early stages.
"Gabby played better," Tortorella said, "but he still didn't get on the board."
Brad Richards said losing Game 5 doesn't change the Rangers' goals one bit.
"Still have to win two," Richards said. "It's no different now. Just have to win one in their building to keep us alive instead of closing it out. Win that one and bring it back here. It's just going to have to take seven games now and that's the reality of it."
The Rangers have shown resiliency throughout the regular season and have lost three straight games on only two occasions and just once since the season's first three games. Brandon Dubinsky likes his team's chances if they can repeat their performance in Game 5 and get a couple shots past the red-hot Anderson.
"They have a good team over there," Dubinsky said. "We knew it was going to be a battle. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. It just means we are going to have to find a way to get it done the hard way. We can't get ahead of ourselves. We have to make sure we are focused on one 60-minute hockey game.
"We have been really good all year at rebounding from tough games like this, especially when we feel like we played a pretty good hockey game. It would be one thing if we played poorly, but I don't think that was the case (in Game 5). We have to take some of those good things, build off them, and get ready."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo