NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Neil scored 1:17 into overtime, and the Ottawa Senators rallied for a wild 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 2 to even the first-round Eastern Conference series Saturday night.
Neil got to a loose puck in front off a rebound and backhanded the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The top-seeded Rangers seemed poised to grab a 2-0 series lead when Brian Boyle scored in the third period, but Nick Foligno tied it with 4:37 left in regulation.
Erik Karlsson also scored for the Senators, who exacted some revenge on Boyle for some shots he took at Karlsson during Game 1. A brawl led to the ejections of Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner and New York forward Brandon Dubinsky just 2:15 in.
Anton Stralman had the other goal for the Rangers.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Ottawa, followed by Game 4 on Wednesday night. The series will return to New York for Game 5 next Saturday.
Foligno helped ensure that the Senators would still be alive then when he got to a loose puck off a shot by Zenon Konopka that got past Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and slammed it up and over the sprawling Lundqvist from the edge of the crease to tie it.
Boyle appeared to be in line to be the star of the game when he fired in a shot from the slot, as he was being knocked sideways by a hit from Jesse Winchester. That gave the Rangers their second lead of the night, 2-1 at 2:41 of the third.
Boyle was already the prime focus on a night in which he was targeted early and often by the Senators. He was jumped by Carkner along the side boards and absorbed numerous punches while he was up on his skates and after he fell to the ice and tried to cover up.
Dubinsky also was kicked out for being the third man in when he came to Boyle’s defense.
Craig Anderson made 27 saves, all in regulation, to earn the win for the eighth-seeded Senators. Lundqvist stopped 29 shots.
The Rangers’ much-maligned power play finally came through after falling during the 5-minute advantage New York received for Carkner’s fighting penalty.
With defenseman Sergei Gonchar off for tripping, Stralman took a cross-zone pass from defense partner Dan Girardi and fired a shot from the top edge of the right circle that pinballed off Anderson and squeezed between his pads at 10:16.
That lead held up for the rest of the first period and deep into the second when Ottawa’s more potent power play cashed in on a 5-minute advantage of its own.
Usually mild-mannered rookie speedster Carl Hagelin landed a hard hit on Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson along the side boards in the Ottawa end. Hagelin got his elbow up and struck Alfredsson in the head, earning a major penalty.
Alfredsson didn’t return to the game.
Just over 3 minutes into the advantage, Karlsson flung the puck in front from below the goal line, deep in the right corner of the Rangers’ end. As New York defenseman Michael Del Zotto skated in to help protect the crease, he stuck out his left skate and deflected the puck past Lundqvist to tie it at 1 with 6:10 left in the second.
The intensity was thick on the ice, and could be felt throughout the arena. And it all stemmed from the game’s opening minutes.
There were still a few stray balloons in the crowd, left over from the national anthem, when the fireworks started early on the ice.
Anticipation of potential quick rough stuff could be felt in Madison Square Garden when the teams lined up for the opening faceoff. But despite the presence of Carkner and Konopka — both scratched in Game 1 — and Mike Rupp, Brandon Prust, and Stu Bickel in the Rangers’ starting five, play began calmly.
That all changed when Carkner went after Boyle along the side boards in the New York end and began unloading unprovoked punches.
As players from both teams gathered along the wall and exchanged shoves and words, Dubinsky charged in to help Boyle. When things settled down, Carkner and Dubinsky were ushered to the penalty boxes.
While referees sorted out the penalties, Dubinsky became incensed in the box — apparently aware that he had been ejected. When the official announcement was made, Dubinsky stormed toward the tunnel and threw down a full water cooler.
Carkner was given a major penalty for fighting, but the Rangers failed to take advantage of the 5-minute power play. He also received a minor penalty for roughing, that was canceled out by one given to Dubinsky.
Boyle became a target after he landed a few punches to the head of Karlsson, Ottawa’s 21-year-old star defenseman, after the whistle early on in New York’s 4-2 win in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Later in the first period of Game 2, Boyle fought Neil.
NOTES: Alfredsson missed five games because of a concussion sustained when he took a hit to the head from Wojtek Wolski — then of the Rangers — on Oct. 29. … The Senators scratched D Matt Gilroy and LW Kaspars Daugavins and replaced them with Carkner and Konopka. … Tony Sericolo worked as a linesman just days after the NHL admitted he erred in failing to call offsides against Philadelphia’s Danny Briere in Game 1 of the Flyers’ series against Pittsburgh. The non-call led directly to the Flyers’ first goal by Briere in a 4-3 overtime victory. … Both teams were 1 for 4 on the power play. Ottawa was 0 for 3 in Game 1. New York was 0 for 4.
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