Get ready to end your hockey withdrawal, as the New York Rangers will resume their quest for a fifth Stanley Cup banner tonight against the Ottawa Senators (7 PM, CNBC).
Unlike their previous opponent, playoff matchups with the Senators are rare, the two teams having met up just once, a seven game-set back in the 2012 Eastern quarterfinals, the Rangers acting as the top seed in the East, whereas the Senators were the eighth seed. Let’s take a look back on those thrilling seven games…
Game 1: Rangers 4, Senators 2
The Rangers got off to hot start in the 2012 postseason, jumping out to a 4-0 lead as Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle and Brad Richards each had goals spead over the three periods of play before Daniel Alfredsson and Eric Condra added late Ottawa goals. Boyle later found himself in controversy, where he punched Erik Karlsson, but escaped a penalty. The hit set the series on a physical path.
Game 2: Senators 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
Things truly got out of hand in Game 2, as Ottawa inserted tough guys Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner into their lineup. Konopka jawed with Boyle during the pregame, while Carkner attacked Boyle shortly after the faceoff, earning a one-game suspension and game misconduct for attacking an unwilling fighter. Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin was also assessed a three-game suspension for elbowing Alfedsson in the head, keeping the veteran out for the next three games. As for the game itself, Boyle break a 1-1 tie in the third with a goal before Nick Foligno tied in the latter stages. Chris Neil would win it for Ottawa in the second minute of the extra session.
Game 3: Rangers 1, Senators 0
Boyle again took his revenge against Ottawa, scoring his third goal of the series and the lone goal of Game 3 to put the Rangers up 2-1 in the set. Henrik Lundqvist was Henrik Lundqvist, making 39 saves on the road to preserve a shutout. Notably, Chris Kreider partook in his very first NHL game, called up to replace the suspended Hagelin.
Game 4: Senators 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
The Rangers seemed well on their way to taking a 3-1 lead, as they scored the first two goals of the game, Anton Stralman’s score in the opening minute preceding Callahan’s second goal of the series. However, Ottawa fought back in the middle frame, as Milan Michalek scored before Sergei Gonchar tied it on the power play. Kyle Turris wrapped things up for the Sens, who again kept overtime short, as Turris’s goal came 2:42 into the frame.
Game 5: Senators 2, Rangers 0
This time, the Ottawa victory need no extra time, as Craig Anderson completely took over Madison Square Garden. The Rangers peppered his net with 41 shots, but Anderson stopped each and every one, frustrating the home crowd. Jason Spezza took care of the offensive side of things, as his first period goal proved to be enough, but he added an empty netter with 56 seconds to go for good measure.
Game 6: Rangers 3, Senators 2
The stage was set for Ottawa to pull off a huge upset in front of their hometown fans, as Chris Neil’s first period goal put them up 1-0. However, a pair of Ranger power play goals, Derek Stepan and Richards providing the tallies, gave them the lead for good, and Kreider’s first career NHL goal in the third period proved to be solid insurance and the game winner, as Spezza added a goal with 39 seconds remaining.
Game 7: Rangers 2, Senators 1
It’s Rangers hockey, so of course it wasn’t easy, but the Blueshirts were able to prevail against the pesky Senators with a fourth and final win at MSG. All scoring was done in the second period, as goals from defensemen surprisingly paved the way for the Rangers, as Dan Girardi and Marc Staal earned the Rangers goals, both coming in the second period. A returning Alfredsson kept the game close with an Ottawa goal later in the period, but Lundqvist held strong to give the Rangers the win. They would defeat Washington in the next round, likewise in seven games, before falling to New Jersey in the conference finals. Ottawa would earn a series win the next season, taking down Montreal in five games.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490