By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
The Rangers and Senators battled tooth and nail for every inch of the ice Thursday night at Scotiabank Place, so it should come as no surprise that the game was decided in the seventh round of the shootout. And it took a shot by Kaspars Daugavins which was fanned on to slip between Henrik Lundqvist's pads, and a subsequent miss by Chris Kreider in Round Seven to hand the Rangers a painful 3-2 defeat.
Trailing 1-0 the Rangers took advantage of their fourth power play of the game at 10:44 of the third period when Ryan Callahan chipped a rebound past Ottawa'back-up goaltender Ben Bishop, who had entered the game nine minutes earlier when starter Craig Anderson suffered an injury. Callahan's fourth goal of the season came after Marc Staal had hammered a shot an original shot on goal, and was also assisted by Derek Stepan.
Fifty-one seconds later the Rangers took their first lead of the night when Ryan McDonagh's snap shot from left wing found its way between Bishop's pads at 11:35. Rookie J.T. Miller did some strong work down low on the play, earning his first career NHL assist on the score. Jeff Halpern also picked up an assist for his first point as a Ranger.
With Anderson working on a 1-0 shutout early in the third period, the Senators No. 1 goaltender suffered an unspecified injury during a collision with Chris Kreider. The Blueshirts rookie chased a dump-in to Anderson's left, had contact with Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot, and fell hard to the ice, proceeding to slide into Anderson, who then crumpled to the ice. No penalty was called on the play, and after several minutes Anderson---who entered play Thursday leading the NHL with a 1.57 goals against average and .950 save percentage---was helped to the dressing room, moving very gingerly in the process.
Bishop replaced Anderson---who stopped all 21 shots he had faced Thursday---and it seemed for a moment that the Rangers had quickly taken advantage to tie the game a minute later when Halpern slipped a rebound into the cage at 2:57. However the referee had clearly blown his whistle before the score even though Bishop did not have control of the puck, an unfortunate sequence for the visitors.
Ottawa had grabbed a 1-0 lead 6:48 into the first period when rookie Jakob Silfverberg scored a shorthanded a goal. Silfverberg chased a long head-man pass from Daniel Alfredsson on right wing, and then had a clear path to the Rangers net when Dan Girardi fell down while chasing the puck. The young Swede cut to the net and finished past Lundqvist with a pretty backhand shot for his third goal of the season. It was the first time this season that the Rangers had surrendered a shorthanded goal.
Alfredsson, who assisted on Silfverberg's goal, came up big during the next Rangers power play, as well, dropping to his knees to block Michael Del Zotto's point-blank shot with Anderson scrambling to get back into position after making a save.
That 1-0 lead held up for the Senators, not ony through the first period, but through the second, as well, as Anderson calmly stopped all 20 shots he faced through 40 minutes. Marian Gaborik created the Rangers best scoring chances, totaling five shots through two periods and four in the middle stanza alone---including a pair of neat wraparound attempts. Later in the five-minute overtime, Gaborik drove a rebound attempt off the post behind Bishop.
At the other end of the ice Lundqvist made a terrific stop on Dave Dziurzynski 11:20 into the second period after the rookie slipped behind the Rangers defense. Then while sprawled on the ice, Lundqvist somehow managed to deny Chris Neil's rebound attempt, as well. Later in the period Lundqvist made an alert right-pad save on Silfverberg's bomb from right wing.
Even with veteran Arron Asham missing from the lineup the Rangers fourth line provided the visitors with some key minutes and physical play during the first 40 minutes of play. Stu Bickel dressed for the first time in seven games and replaced Asham in the lineup, generating two shots on goal while being credited with four hits, making the most of his limited ice-time. Rookie Brandon Mashinter, playing in the place of the injured Darroll Powe, also skated with energy and purpose.