Anderson steals win for Sens
New York Rangers' Derek Stepan (R) checks Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil during the first period in Game 5 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter final playoff hockey game in Madison Square Garden in New York, April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
NEW YORK — Craig Anderson stole the show on Broadway Saturday night.
The No. 8-seeded Senators pushed the No. 1-ranked New York Rangers to the brink of elimination with a stunning 2-0 win in Game 5 Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Led by Anderson’s second career post-season shutout, with 41 stops, the Senators pulled into a 3-2 series lead and can send the Rangers packing with a victory in Game 6 Monday night at Scotiabank Place.
“We’ll enjoy this on the plane ride home, but when the sun comes up (Sunday) we know it’s all business again,” said Anderson. “It’s a great a feeling. You play 82 games during the regular season to get this opportunity.”
The goalie gave plenty of credit to his teammates.
“We limited our turnovers. We bought into blocking shots, keep shots to the outside and taking sticks away. We did the little things that you don’t usually notice, but can make a big impact.”
In the post-lockout era, 25-of-31 teams that have won Game 5 have gone on to win the series. Jason Spezza, who also scored into an empty net, was the only Senator to solve New York’s Henrik Lundqvist.
Anderson made his best save of the night off Brandon Dubinsky in alone during the second period, getting his pad on a backhander.
Trying to win a playoff series for the first time in his career, Anderson faced 26 shots through 40 minutes, while Lundqvist was busy with 21 stops to hold Ottawa to a 1-0 lead.
Coach Paul MacLean called Anderson’s effort brilliant.
“That was as good as I’ve seen him,” said MacLean. “I thought he was really good at home (Wednesday) as well and I think he’s been really good throughout this series.”
The Senators could have had a bigger lead. Not only did Erik Karlsson hit the post in the second, Lundqvist stopped Milan Michalek twice when he was alone. For the first time in this series, the Senators held a lead.
Outshot 14-9 by the Rangers in the first, Spezza broke out of his post-season scoring slump by firing home his first of the series at 9:18 of the period after taking a pass from Mark Stone, who took a spot on the club’s top line.
“I feel like I’ve been working hard and it’s nice to get rewarded,” said Spezza. “But this is the time of year the most important things are wins.
“We found ourselves even in the series, and I hadn’t scored yet, but I felt like I was doing some good things. It’s probably a little more mature approach, but I just kept plugging away the best I could.”
“It was pretty nice to get that assist, my first game in the NHL. It really means a lot to me,” said Stone.
Brian Boyle, who took a hit from Chris Neil in third, left the game and didn’t return. The Rangers confirmed Boyle suffered a concussion. He is doubtful for Game 6 and the media in New York wants the Ottawa winger suspended.
“He cuts to the middle with his head down,” said Neil. “I’m a physical player out there. It was a clean hit.”