OTTAWA – Another Game 2 on the road, another late lead blown, this absolutely devastating for the Rangers who led by two until 3:41 left in regulation, lost their lead and lost the game in double overtime, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scoring his fourth of the game for Ottawa 2:54 into the period to sink the Rangers, 6-5, and put them in a 2-0 series hole.
The Rangers loss Game 2 against Montreal in overtime after giving up a tying goal with 17.3 seconds left in regulation, but they won Game 1 last round. Now the Rangers have five potential games to try to get four wins.
Pageau scored both late goals in the third on tips in a span of 2:17 to bring Ottawa level at 5-5. The tying goal came right in front with 1:02 left and Craig Anderson pulled for an extra attacker and gave Pageau a hat trick. The Rangers outshot Ottawa 10-8 in the first overtime period.
Rookie Brady Skjei scored twice and leads the Rangers with four goals this postseason. His second came after Mark Stone cut Ottawa’s deficit to one just 1:28 in the third. Eight seconds before his goal, Skjei was the lone man back on a three-on-one and broke up Stone’s pass attempt through the slot.
Brendan Smith went the other way and dished to Skjei who put the Rangers back up by two at 5:10 of the third. Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s second of the game cut it to 5-4 with 3:19 left, but the Rangers held on.
Two guys who could’ve used a big goal each got one in Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan, Kreider’s first of the playoffs putting the Rangers up 2-1 halfway through the second and Stepan’s shorthanded tally giving them a two-goal lead. Ryan McDonagh was strong throughout and had two assists, as did Mika Zibanejad against his former club, giving him a team-high five assists in these playoffs.
In the first game of the series Ottawa dictated the play on special teams across eight power plays awarded in the game. This time the Rangers turned the tables, improving on their penalty kill with a 4-for-4 effort and generating a bunch of shorthanded looks, two of which ended up in the net.
Before Stepan finished off a two-on-one with Rick Nash it was Michael Grabner burying the opening goal 4:16 into the game on a two-on-one with Jesper Fast, who scored the Blueshirts’ first shorthanded goal of the postseason in Game 5 against Montreal.
Pageau tied the game at 1 later in the first after Dan Girardi, on his 33rd birthday, passed the puck to nobody in the neutral zone. Pageau pounced on the loose puck, rushed into the right circle and beat Henrik Lundqvist near side on a goal Lundqvist probably wants back.
The Rangers were buzzing with three new lines at the start of the second, at the end of which they had 19 shots on goal. J.T. Miller had a couple of golden chances after a rough first period, one from point-blank range robbed by the heel of Craig Anderson’s glove. Right before that contact by Zack Smith brought Lundqvist down on the other end of the ice, but there was no call.
Mike Hoffman powered his way around Skjei during 4-on-4 play in the second for a shot in close, and Marc Methot scored the rebound opportunity at 14:00 of the second period to make it 3-2 Rangers.
Only 1:51 later Skjei’s first goal of the evening made it 4-2. His long shot hit off Dion Phaneuf in the slot and got by Anderson. Ottawa challenged for offside but was unsuccessful.
Skjei and Smith were on the bench for the final 6:48 and 5:37 of the third period, respectively.
STARS OF THE GAME
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: Four goals
He scored both goals late in the third to erase the Rangers’ lead and buried the winner off an odd-man rush 2:54 into double overtime for the dagger.
2. Kyle Turris: Assist
Earned the primary assist on Pageau’s tying goal with 1:02 left in the third and stopped Rick Nash with his stick in the crease in the first overtime when Craig Anderson was out of his net.
3. Brady Skjei: Two goals
Put the Blueshirts up by two twice, now leads the team with four goals through eight postseason games.
Alex Burrows poked the puck out of the Senators’ zone before Nick Holden took a risk and couldn’t beat him to it. That set up Pageau and Tommy Wingels for the two-on-one on which Pageau reeled off the game-winner.
Oscar Lindberg was the definition of MIA, as he played just 5:07 out of the 82:54, not seeing the ice past the 14:23 mark of the third period.
STAT OF THE DAY
2013. That was the last year the Rangers overcame a 2-0 series deficit, dropping the first two games of the first round in Washington, Game 2 in overtime, before tying the series 2-2, losing Game 5 and winning the final two games.
Mika Zibanejad notched two assists against his former club and leads the Rangers with five helpers this postseason. He also leads the club with six points through eight games.