Saturday, May 6, 2017

Late Game Woes Do Rangers in Again at Ottawa

Three times in these playoffs the New York Rangers have given up the tying goal in the final two minutes and had to slog through an overtime. All three times they've come up empty, scratching their heads and wondering at what point it all went wrong. The latest Ranger meltdown occurred on Saturday as the Senators rallied late to tie on Derick Brassard's goal at 18:34 of the third before notching the winner on a Kyle Turris put-away at 6:28 of overtime.

The Senators take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series, which heads back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 on Tuesday night.

“What’s done is done,” Rangers forward Matt Zuccarello said. “We have to win two games.”

Once again the critics are questioning the late-game decisions of Rangers' coach Alan Vigneault. Defenseman Brady Skjei was not used in the final five minutes and the Rangers were caught off guard late after the Senators pulled Craig Anderson for an extra skater.

"Maybe the guys didn't know the goaltender was coming," Vigneault said. "But there was less than two minutes and we were down by a goal--we should expect it."

The Rangers can take solace in the fact that they have won four in a row at home and dominated Ottawa in Game 3 and Game 4, outscoring them 8-2.

"We're down, and can't lose another game," said Vigneault. "We're going to go back to New York, regroup."

The Rangers were outshot 6-0 in the overtime and only had one shot attempt while the Senators had 13. Michael Grabner had a goal waved off at 4:12 of overtime when it was ruled that he played the shot with a high stick.

On Turris' winner his shot was initially blocked by Dan Girardi, but Turris alertly scooped up the loose puck and charged past Girardi before depositing the puck past Henrik Lundqvist.

"I know it's Kentucky Derby day. I guess that was our horse tonight," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "Definitely somebody who came out with the max character and the pushback we can expect from him. It was very inspiring."

The Rangers lead early by a 2-0 margin, but later had to rally from 3-2 down. Ryan McDonagh scored t 17:49 of the second to tie it and rookie Jimmy Vesey scored his first playoff goal to put the Rangers up 4-3 at 12:48 of the third.

But the Senators dominated play down the stretch before breaking through with Brassard's tying goal.