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Rangers see Game 1 loss to Senators as missed opportunity

Unable to take advantage of dominant performance by goalie Henrik Lundqvist

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

OTTAWA -- The New York Rangers have to see their loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Thursday as a missed opportunity. Another one in Game 2 on Saturday and they'll be in big trouble.

"We just need a little more from everyone," defenseman Dan Girardi said.

It makes you wonder why they didn't get a little more from everyone in Game 1 at Canadian Tire Centre, where the Ottawa Senators won 2-1 on Erik Karlsson's goal out of the right corner with 4:11 left in the third period to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

 

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Senators series coverage]

 

"You've got to make the other team pay for some of their mistakes," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We didn't, and it came back to bite us."

Vigneault was talking about the shots off the post from Michael Grabner in the first period and Kevin Hayes in the third, as well as the missed chances on odd-man rushes, including a missed shot by Grabner on a breakaway.

But it should hurt the Rangers even more that they lost despite getting all they could possibly get from goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 41 saves, including 21 in the first period, a career high for him in one period of a Stanley Cup Playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Lundqvist lays out to rob Stone

To lose when your goalie is as sharp and dominant as Lundqvist was is a huge miss.

"That's the life of a goalie," Lundqvist said.

Lundqvist helped the Rangers through a rough first period, when they gave the Senators three power plays and seemed to struggle with Ottawa's puck movement.

The Senators had nine shots on goal on the power play in the first but nothing to show for it. They even pressured when they were shorthanded, got three shots and forced Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei to take a hooking penalty when New York still was on the power play. Still nothing to show for it.

Ryan McDonagh gave New York a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 7:10 of the second period. With the way Lundqvist was playing, the Rangers had to feel that one more goal on Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson would be enough.

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

They never got it.

"We had a lot of looks, certainly looks we wish we capitalized on, and they're going to say the same thing when they look back," McDonagh said. "It's going to take a goal you don't see very often to decide it like that. Obviously we wish it didn't happen but at the same time I thought we played a hard fought game with them."

And that's the other thing that has to be troubling to the Rangers now. They played the way they wanted to play for most of the game at 5-on-5.

"We had some really good looks," Lundqvist said.

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Lundqvist gloves Dzingel's heavy shot

The Rangers knew getting through the Senators' structured 1-3-1 neutral-zone clogging system was going to take some patience and discipline. They had it for the most part, save for a few minutes in the second period when each team seemed to be slow and stale.

"I thought we had some good zone time," Vigneault said. "Probably didn't get enough out of it."

They have to get more Saturday. They can't miss again.

"I think we'll be OK," Girardi said.

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