The New York Rangers awoke from their scoring funk just in time, scoring three goals in the second period to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series on Monday night. The win forced a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, with the winner advancing to the second round of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Rangers benefitted twice off of a powerplay that had been anemic entering the game. Craig Anderson hadn't allowed a goal since the 6:10 mark in the first period of Game 4, but was finally beaten by Derek Stepan 8:55 into the second. With New York down 1-0, Stepan received a nice cross-ice pass from Brad Richards for the tip-in.
Stepan finished with three points on the night, after picking up an assist on each of the Rangers' next two goals. The first and final put New York up 3-1 in the waning seconds of the second period. Another nice feed found rookie Chris Kreider, who recorded the first goal of his promising career.
Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding throughout the game, but especially in the third period where he stopped the first 13 shots he faced including several from point-blank. He proved human eventually in the waning seconds of the game, however. The Sens had six skaters with Anderson on the bench, and Jason Spezza was able to punch the puck in net with 38 seconds until the end of regulation. The play went to video review when replay apparently showed the puck going off the skate of Chris Neil. The goal stood, however, bringing Ottawa back within one goal.
Ultimately it didn't matter. The Rangers held on for the 3-2 win to send the game back to New York.