is making it exceedingly difficult for the New York Rangers
to keep him out of the opening night lineup.
The rookie from the University of Wisconsin scored a shorthanded goal in regulation and connected again in the shootout before Erik Christensen
's deciding goal gave New York a 5-4 win against Ottawa on Friday night.
Stepan scored for the second game in a row.
"I am happy with what I have done," he said. "I have put my best foot forward. Whatever happens, happens. I know I gave it everything I had. We will see from there."
After Stepan and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson
matched goals in the second round, Christensen deked Brian Elliott before lifting a wrister over his pad. Henrik Lundqvist
then stopped Peter Regin
for the win, the Rangers' fourth in five preseason games.
The teams meet again at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.
The game was scoreless for more than 30 minutes, then turned into a run-and-gun contest that saw eight goals scored before the end of regulation.
opened the scoring by beating Elliott at 10:36 of the second, and Stepan continued his bid to make the team by banging in the rebound of Ruslan Fedotenko
's shot for a shorthanded goal at 15:55.
But the Senators got one back on Jason Spezza
's tip past Lundqvist with 24 seconds left in the period. Erik Karlsson
scored 40 seconds into the third period to get Ottawa even, and the Senators took their first lead when Spezza scored again at 5:32.
Derek Boogaard, who hasn't scored in his last 222 regular-season games, tied it 59 seconds later by banging Brandon Prust
's pass behind Elliott. Chris Campoli's power-play goal at 11:44 put the Senators back in front, but Marc Staal
's spectacular goal with 3:59 remaining forced overtime.
Ottawa coach Cory Clouston wasn't unhappy with what he saw from his team.
"I liked our game," he said. "We got down 2-0 on the road, and I thought we did a lot of good things. We got a lot of opportunities, a lot of puck possession. They forced us to play hard, and I thought our guys responded well."