On a night where team toughness was front and centre, the Sens earned the series split thanks to one of their tough guys.
Nick Foligno scored late in the third to tie the game and Chris Neil played the role of playoff overtime hero as the Ottawa Senators scored a gritty 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden.
The Sens and Rangers don't really have much of a history but after the events of last night, it's safe to say we are in for an epic playoff series.
The intrigue started early in this one when Head Coach Paul MacLean made a last minute change to his line up, inserting additional toughness in the form of Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka. To make things even more interesting, both were in the starting line up along with Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Jared Cowen.
After a listless performance in the opener, you knew the Senators would do something to change the momentum and it didn't take long for Carkner to make his mark on this series. He targeted Brian Boyle after the Rangers tough guy took liberties with Karlsson in Game 1 and sent a strong message that the Senators will not be pushed around.
From that moment on, you could just tell the Sens had an added swagger, showing just how valuable a guy like Matt Carkner really is to this team.
Plenty to watch for today has both Carl Hagelin and Matt Carkner will have disciplinary hearings. Hagelin clearly targeted the head of Sens Captain Daniel Alfredsson and should pay the price for it. Alfie left the game after the incident and his status for Game 3 is still unknown.
Carkner's hearing is scheduled for noon while Hagelin will meet with Sheriff Shanny at 1:30 PM.
- Paul MacLean has received a ton of praise this year for his ability to bring this team together and get them all pulling in the same direction. MacLean is a guy that understands how the game is played and he showed that last night. Have to love the decision to start five tough guys and send a strong message to start Game 2.
- Would love to hear where this game ranks in your all time favourite Sens moments. Watched this game at St. Louis on Elgin again and the place went absolutely bananas after Neil's winner. Sens Mile is alive and well!