The Senators are going to look back at Game 4 and realize that they just lost a Stanley Cup Playoff game, and their second-round series lead due to the offensive play of Nick Holden, Oscar Lindberg and Rangers folk hero, Tanner Glass.
Holden opened the scoring in the first, Lindberg lit the lamp twice, and Glass picked up two assists as the Rangers steamrolled the Senators, 4-1, and evened the series 2-2.
Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves and picked up his 61st career playoff victory in the process. The Senators had approximately eight legitimate scoring chances during the two games in New York as Lundqvist was rarely tested. He leads all active NHL goaltenders in career playoff appearances (126) and career playoff wins (61).
Blueshirt Bullet Points
1) The decision to dress Glass has had a positive impact for New York. His straight-ahead game rubs off on other players, and his physical presence has been important. Look at Lindberg’s second goal, Glass got the puck deep, won a battle behind the net, and screened Craig Anderson. There is no doubt Pavel Buchnevich is a more talented player, especially offensively, but at this point of the playoffs, Alain Vigneault knows exactly what Glass will bring to the lineup, and that’s all he needs.
2) “I love his game,” Glass said of Lindberg. “He hangs onto the puck, he is crafty when he gets it. And he can shoot it real well.”
3) It’s not often one team has a 2-on-0 opportunity in the playoffs, but Michael Grabner made it count when he set up Lindberg for the team’s second goal of the game 2:01 into the second period.
4) “He just finds that area and skates by guys when he is right beside them,” Girardi said of Grabner. “It’s just that world-class speed that sets him apart. When he is moving his feet like that and creating offense, it helps us out a lot”
5) The Senators did not look like a team that belongs in the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they barely generated any offensive opportunities and turned the puck over left and right. Guy Boucher was very calm in his post-game press conference, but the Senators appear to be crumbling.
6) Kevin Hayes delivered a perfectly placed saucer pass to allow Nick Holden to skate in the offensive zone all alone. Holden made a nifty move, but Anderson looked like a statue on the deke. Mike Condon replaced Anderson to start the third period.
7) Erik Karlsson is playing with two hairline fractures in his left foot, and has been ineffective throughout the series. The Swedish defenseman cannot skate up the ice, or move the puck as he normally does. With Karlsson playing this way, Ottawa’s defense takes on an entirely different look. They do not appear to have any puck-moving defensemen on the backend, and have been extremely sloppy in their own zone.
8) Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello had another strong game, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone. The Rangers will need them to emerge as a top line and set the table going forward. Kreider stuffed home a power-play goal in the third period, his second tally of the series.
9) At the end of the third period, the Senators lost their cool. Girardi wisely did not fight back after Bobby Ryan lost his cool. J.T. Miller took another dumb penalty and decided to throw a few punches at Viktor Stalberg. Dion Phaneuf and Brendan Smith dropped the gloves as well. The Rangers would be smart to avoid the rough play after the whistle. New York has shown through four games that they are a much more talented team. There is no reason to engage in the nonsense because nothing good will happen from it, especially at the end of a game. Remember, momentum very rarely, if ever, carries from game to game.
10) “We are trying to play with discipline, trying to play whistle to whistle,” Vigneault said after the game.
11) The Rangers held serve at home, but need to remember the series is tied 2-2 despite being the far superior team through the first four games. One bounce the wrong way could change the entire dynamic of the series.
12) “Its all great that we tied the series but we are going to their building,” Girardi said. “We have to make sure we have a good start again. Whatever we did tonight and the game before doesn’t matter, we got a fresh start coming Saturday.”
13) “Momentum in games can change pretty quickly,” Marc Staal explained. “I think our focus over the last couple of games was keeping that focus and playing our game and making sure we are taking care of the puck and all those things that allow us to win. It’s still a tie series. It’s best two out of three now.”
14) Puck drop for Game 5 is set for 3 p.m. ET, Saturday afternoon in Ottawa.