OTTAWA -- There isn't a team in the League that wouldn't like to have a two-goal lead six minutes into a game, but it proved to be a problem for the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
After getting power-play goals from Anton Stralman and Ryan Callahan in the first period, the Rangers couldn't break through against goaltender Craig Anderson and the Senators for the remainder of the game. Ottawa scored three unanswered goals, including Kyle Turris' laser 2:15 into overtime, to give the Senators a 3-2 win in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series that evened the best-of-seven battle at 2-2.
RANGERS VS. SENATORS
Sens even series with 3-2 overtime win
By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer After the Senators rallied from a 2-0 deficit, Kyle Turris scored 2:42 into overtime to tie the series at two games apiece heading back to New York.
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The Rangers carried their two-goal lead into the first intermission, but they found themselves under attack from the Senators over the final 40 minutes of regulation and eventually succumbed in overtime. The Senators held an 85-49 advantage in shot attempts, an indication that they were dictating the play after falling behind early.
That's not how it appeared to Callahan, who felt the top-seeded Rangers were simply in a tight game with the eighth-seeded Senators.
"To be honest with you, I thought it was back and forth," Callahan said. "I don't think they controlled the game per se in the second and third. I thought we had a really good third period. Obviously, they get two there in the second. We have to stay out of the box. That's one problem. Overall, I don't think we played a bad game. They're a good team. They kept coming. We got a two-goal lead early on the game. I know it's not over. They're a good enough team to come back and they end up doing that. They end up getting us in overtime."
The Senators drew within a goal when Milan Michalek finished an odd-man rush for his first goal of the season, then Sergei Gonchar scored on a power play with 2:10 left in the second period with Artem Anisimov in the penalty box for tripping.
To say Rangers coach John Tortorella was displeased with that penalty would be an understatement.
"You're playing with fire. They have a good power play," Tortorella said. "Two dumb penalties [Tortorella didn't specify the other], Artie's especially, and it ends up biting you. It's frustrating to lose in overtime and I still think we need to have more guys involved."
The Rangers haven't had the better of play at even strength over the past three games. At 5-on-5, the Senators have outscored the Rangers 6-2 since falling behind 4-0 in Game 1. The Rangers have one even-strength goal in their last 160:01 of play in the series.
One positive for the Rangers was their power play, which went 2-for-7 in Game 4 after going 1-for-11 in the first three games of the series. But for Brad Richards, who assisted on both goals, it's the final five chances of the game that slipped away that decided the game.
"The first couple [we] scored," Richards said. "After that, I thought we needed a third goal. It's good to get two, but with the amount of chances we had tonight and the situations at key times in the game, it would've been nice to get that third. Maybe it would've been 3-0 or 3-1 instead of letting them get back to 2-1."
Now the Rangers will have to bounce back Saturday night at home against a team that clearly believes it can come back from any deficit and has played the Eastern Conference's top team to a stalemate for four games.
"It won't be tough," Callahan said. "We've got a mature team in here. We know what's at stake here. We have a best-of-three and we go back home. We've dealt with an OT loss before (in Game 2) and we responded. We have to do it the same and get ready to get going Saturday night."
"Any time you have a lead, you don't want to lose it," Richards said. "But, it doesn't matter right now. It's over. We move on to the next one. We look at it, build on the stuff we've done good and see where we have to improve."