NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators expected plenty of pushback from the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
They got it.
The Rangers were the more desperate, more determined team in a 4-1 victory and now trail the best-of-7 series 2-1.
"They were quick and fast, and we were behind on everything," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "We were behind on our thinking, behind on our execution, behind on our physicality. We got a good slap in the face, and now we have to get going again."
[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Senators series coverage]
In addition to losing the game, the Senators lost center Zack Smith (upper body) and right wing Bobby Ryan (lower body) to injury. Smith left the game at 9:27 of the first period after having played 1:50. Ryan limped off the ice 7:23 into the third period after he was hit by an Erik Karlsson shot at 6:06.
"We will reassess (the injuries) on Wednesday," Boucher said. "But we've been missing guys all year long, and we've had the same results. We just have to have it."
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm3: Grabner slips puck past Anderson
Boucher said that if Smith or Ryan miss extended time, he could call on forwards Tom Pyatt or Chris Kelly, or defenseman Chris Wideman.
"It's more about who's going to play and who's ready to play, and I have all the confidence in the world that the players will bounce back," Boucher said.
Game 4 is here Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"We didn't start well enough, plain and simple," Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "If you don't start on time, you get behind. When you get behind, you chase the game, and we seemed to chase to game. We have to start a lot better; the start cost us the game. They played well and more desperate than us. The Rangers found a way to get to a higher level, and that's not acceptable."
The Senators found themselves in a similar predicament in Game 2 during the second period, when the Rangers scored three goals on 19 shots to take a 4-2 lead. In that game, however, Ottawa settled down, tightened up defensively, and eventually won 6-5 when center Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his fourth of the game 2:54 into the second overtime.
The Rangers weren't going to allow a repeat Tuesday.
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm3: Nash finishes a two-on-one rush
"You have a team that doesn't want to be down 3-0 and the fear is very tangible," Boucher said. "The urgency and desperation that comes with it was the story of the first period, and when they're desperate and you're not, you have no chance."
New York scored two goals on 15 shots in the first period and two goals on nine shots in the second, before Pageau got Ottawa on the board with 1:11 left in the second.
The Senators failed to create a consistent net-front presence or generate sustained offensive-zone pressure at any point in the game, and it was pretty evident from the opening faceoff that it was going to be an uphill battle for them. They seemed out of sync all game; Karlsson and forward Mark Stone collided midway through the second when Rick Nash scored to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
"They had a lot of jump in their first game at home in this round, and we talked about it before the game and knew they would come out with a lot of jump," center Kyle Turris said. "We didn't want to just weather the storm, but counter it, but came up flat, and there's no excuse."
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm3: Anderson turns away Zibanejad
Goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 26 saves, was the best player for the Senators.
"It wasn't a great performance for our team," Karlsson said. "We couldn't find a way to execute the way we wanted to, and they put pucks into the net when they got chances. We gave them a little too much room, and they got to feel good about themselves."