OTTAWA – Struggling on home ice in post-season play, the Ottawa Senators were in desperate need of a playoff hero.
Kyle Turris was more than happy to step up.
Turris scored the game-winner at 2:42 of overtime to give the Senators a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Ottawa tied its Eastern Conference quarter-final series 2-2, with Game 5 on Saturday in New York.
“I’ve just lived every kid’s Stanley Cup dream,” Turris said.
“It was a great play by (Jim) O’Brien. It was kind of a long shift in our zone and right when he got it I was actually thinking of changing, but I saw it was a two-on-two. I just tried to use the (defenceman) as a screen to get it on net.”
The Senators ended a seven-game home-ice playoff winless streak. It was their first overtime playoff win at home in exactly eight years.
Milan Michalek and Sergei Gonchar also scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 31 shots.
Anton Stralman and Ryan Callahan scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves.
Turris will be seen as the hero, but if not for the play of Anderson the Senators would have been heading back to New York trailing this series.
“I thought (Anderson) was our best player,” said Ottawa coach Paul MacLean. “I thought he was outstanding. I thought he showed great leadership and competitiveness for the team and thought he really tried.”
Despite the loss the Rangers felt they did a number of things right and return to New York confident they can win on home ice.
“We had a lead and got power play goals, but we just need to finish it off,” New York’s Brad Richards said. “We’ve led in every game and both times they’ve had leads is in overtime to win it.
“We just need to get that next goal; we’ve got to get that third goal.”
Both teams had great opportunities to go ahead in the third period. Ottawa created a flurry of chances in the final minute, but was unable to beat Lundqvist. New York’s best opportunity came with just over five minutes remaining when Nick Foligno was given a tripping penalty, but the Senators managed to kill it off.
Anderson made huge stops on Brian Boyle and Brad Richards early in the period to keep the Senators hopes alive, while Lundqvist made a huge save on Chris Phillips with just over seven minutes remaining.
“They had a good second period and we made it a little tougher on ourselves taking all the penalties,” Lundqvist said. “They got some confidence on the power play and were moving the puck. They felt good about themselves and building their game from there.
“We regrouped and played really well in the third and did some good things but it wasn’t enough.”
Ottawa cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1 at the seven-minute mark of the second as Matt Carkner, coming out of the penalty box, took a pass from Jason Spezza and fed it to Michalek, who backhanded it over Lundqvist’s right shoulder.
The crowd of 20,340 at Scotiabank Place went on to give Ottawa a standing ovation for over three minutes.
“That was huge,” Carkner said. “That’s momentum in the playoffs. The crowd was great they were roaring after that and the guys got some energy on the bench and we continued to play our game.”
With Ottawa on the power play late in the period Senators fans went crazy when Marc Staal caught Spezza in the face with a stick and then gave him an elbow to the head and no penalty was called. Spezza was hunched over when the hit took place, and he went down hard and left the game. He returned for the start of the third.
Ottawa tied the game on the same power play as Gonchar’s shot from the top of the faceoff circle made it through traffic and past Lundqvist.
The Senators were forced to play without Jesse Winchester for the third as he suffered an upper body injury in the second. Winchester played a team low 5:44 through two periods.
Ottawa had a horrible start giving up two goals by the six-minute mark of the first, but showed great resilience coming back in the second.
“I didn’t think we played at the start of the game real well,” MacLean said. “It was like we were back in New York again for the first game. We got back on our heels.”
Coming into the game the Rangers were 1-for-11 with the man advantage and had talked about the need to improve that aspect of special teams. They did just that, scoring two power play goals in the first period.
The Rangers took the lead at the 49-second mark of the first on Stralman’s power play goal. Just over five minutes later the Rangers made it 2-0 with their second power play goal as Callahan was left all alone at the side of the net to bang in Gaborik’s rebound.
Notes: Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in attendance. The Senators were without RW Daniel Alfredsson (concussion, day-to-day), C Peter Regin (shoulder, out for season). D Matt Gilroy, LW Kaspars Daugavins and C Rob Klinkhammer were a healthy scratch. The Rangers were without D Michael Sauer (concussion, indefinitely) and D Steve Eminger (right ankle, day-to-day), RW Mats Zuccarello (fractured left wrist, out indefinitely). LW Carl Hagelin served his second of a three-game suspension. LW John Scott, D Jeff Woywitka and C Chad Kolarik were a healthy scratch.