Senators take 3-2 series lead over Rangers

OTTAWA, Ontario — Kyle Turris capped Ottawa’s comeback from two deficits and pulled the Senators one win from returning to the Eastern Conference final for the first time in 10 years.

Turris scored 6:28 into overtime to lift the Senators to 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday for a 3-2 series lead in their second-round series.

Derick Brassard tied the score with 1:26 left in the third period for Ottawa, which trailed 2-0 just 5 1/2 minutes into the game and 4-3 with 7:12 remaining.

“We’ve talked about not sabotaging ourselves and we were on our way to do that again,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said of the early deficit.

Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Tom Pyatt also scored and Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots to help Ottawa get its fifth overtime win of the postseason, including a double-overtime victory here against the Rangers in Game 2. Erik Karlsson had three assists.

Jesper Fast, Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh and Jimmy Vesey scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 32 saves.

Michael Grabner appeared to win it for the Rangers less than 5 minutes into overtime, but it was disallowed because his redirection came on a high-stick.

Turris then knocked in the rebound of his own shot through Lundqvist’s five-hole to put the Senators one win away from returning to the conference finals for the first time since 2007.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in New York.

Ottawa erased its early deficit, pulling within one late in the first and scoring 33 seconds apart in the second to take a 3-2 lead on Pyatt’s goal at 8:50.

“You have to have that belief. You’re not going to score the first goal every game. It’s not going to always go your way,” Pyatt said.

McDonagh tied it for the Rangers late in the second and Vesey gave them the lead in the third.

Brassard said the message on the Ottawa bench was “pretty clear” at that point: Seven minutes remained to tie the game.

“Everything was positive,” Brassard said. “It was just, ‘Keep pushing! Keep pushing!’”

With Anderson pulled for an extra skater, Brassard — who jumped on the ice when the goalie came to the bench — batted the rebound of Clarke MacArthur’s shot with the puck deflecting in off the back of Rangers defenseman Brandon Smith’s right skate.

“There is definitely an area as far as structure-wise that I thought we had addressed,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Maybe the guys didn’t know the goaltender was coming (out), but there was less than two minutes (to play) and (Ottawa) was down by a goal so they should expect it but maybe the guys got caught not knowing the goalie was out.”

It was exactly one week earlier that Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice with the goalie pulled late in regulation of Game 2 — tying it 5-5 with 1:02 remaining to tie it 5-5 — and then won it in the second overtime with his fourth goal of the game.

Boucher said his philosophy in 6-on-5 situations is simple: “Score.”

“In the end we know that you need presence at the net,” Boucher said. “The two goals are pretty similar in the sense that we had guys there and the puck went in.”

Teams that win Game 5 when a series is tied 2-2 have gone on to win 78.7 per cent of the time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, including a perfect 3-0 in 2017.

The Rangers, who trailed for only 4:11 in the first four games of the series, then grabbed hold of another lead with two goals in 66 seconds. Fast got the first one by finishing off an odd-man rush and Holden added the second on a weak shot that beat Anderson’s glove far-side. New York has scored first all five games this series.

Ottawa pulled to 2-1 just 50 seconds after Holden’s goal as Lundqvist stopped the first attempt by Chris Wideman, but couldn’t get in front of Stone’s backhand rebound shot, which just crept across the goal line.

The Senators tied at 8:17 of the second on two fine feeds from Karlsson and MacArthur, the latter a fake shot sent cross-ice to Hoffman who buried the shot past Lundqvist. Pyatt gave Ottawa its first lead when he redirected Zack Smith’s no-look shot on goal from near the sideboards.

Momentum, though, started to shift back in New York’s favor in the back half of the second. Oscar Lindberg first hit a post as the Rangers spent shift after shift in Ottawa’s zone. The Rangers’ relentless pressure forced some sloppy puck play from the Sens, eventually leading to McDonagh’s tying goal.

Vesey pulled the Rangers in front 4-3 with his first career playoff goal when he pounced on a rebound of Brady Skjei’s shot. Anderson looked to have pulled it back with his glove, but video review confirmed that the puck crossed the line.

“I thought we showed some good resilience and getting the go-ahead goal with about 7 minutes left,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t hold it. Giving up the tying goal again with a minute left is tough to swallow. We have a couple days off now and then back to work.”

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