Sports

Why Senators are walking a tightrope despite playoff success

Why Senators are walking a tightrope despite playoff success

The Senators hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal as it heads to New York City for Game 3 on Tuesday. "I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life", said Pageau, who had 12 goals during the season. "I was on a cloud and it's a moment I'll never forget".

The first round was defined by the constant punishment the Rangers and Canadiens were dishing out on one another.

Lundqvist, in particular, looked off from the outset, including way back in the first period when he allowed Pageau to beat him over the shoulder with a sharp angle shot.

He then came streaking in with rookie defenceman Ben Harpur less than three minutes in the second OT and beat Lundqvist glove-side for the victor.

"It probably wasn't the best executed game", Senators captain Erik Karlsson said in what should qualify as the understatement of the playoffs so far.

Power-play troubles, in particular, almost spelled their doom. Pageau is the first Senator ever with four goals in a playoff game.

Often, it was simple sloppiness with the puck, passes gone completely askew.

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Kreider and Stepan both scored in the middle of the second, then Ottawa pulled within 3-2 on Methot's goal with six minutes to play in the period.

Of course, after declaring Saturday he thought he'd eaten too much when he had two chicken parms before going out to score four goals, he was asked if he was going to have the same Tuesday.

"He brings that element of speed, his ability to stretch the ice, his pursuit game, forces turnovers all the time and we can create a lot of offense off of it", Sullivan said.

"In my mind we've done it for six (of the eight) periods (in the series)".

"It wasn't the effort that was the problem", coach Guy Boucher said. Both saw the pesky former fourth-round pick poking his nose around the NY crease.

"Everyone knows it's a huge game (Tuesday) for sure and going up 3-1 is. obviously a lot better than 2-2", Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "The way he angled the stick he didn't even know he hit the net I think".

"We have four lines that can play offense or play just in general and be risky", Brassard said. Skjei broke up an odd-man rush, took a feed from Brendan Smith in transition and fired in his fourth goal of the playoffs.

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Prior to the big-money goal, a 2-on-1 snipe over the glove hand of goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 2:54 of the extra extra frame, Pageau spent the afternoon cashing in against the Rangers, netting a first period goal to knot the game at one, then a pair of late third-period tallies that tied things at five and sent the game into OT.

"I knew from playing against him he was a pain in the butt", said Phaneuf, who joined the Sens last season from Toronto. "You've always got guys like that, when you watch the National Hockey League playoffs, guys that seem to step up and really perform extraordinarily the way J-G has done".

Added Phaneuf: "It's just great to see him get rewarded: four-goal game, overtime victor". "It's so important just to go out and play the game".

Only problem is, so was Anderson, who has phenomenal career numbers against NY and is 5-2 with a 1.81 goals-against average and.930 save percentage so far in these playoffs. They played great. They came out surging. Doesn't matter if it's an offensive player, a defensive player, it's always the name that comes up.

"Today is just one more of these nights where you know why everybody wants to play with this guy". The Senators finished the game without winger Clarke MacArthur, who left with an undisclosed injury.

The Rangers were the dominant team for most of Game 2 until Pageau took over, and coach Alain Vigneault believes his team has played well for the most part.

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