The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins now know who they will be playing next in the conference final if they can win Game Seven on Wednesday: the third-worst team in the East (as judged by standings points).
The Ottawa Senators defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 Tuesday night, winning their best-of-seven second-round series four games to two. This is the first time the Senators will play in the Eastern Conference Final since 2007.
The Senators took an early 2-0 lead in the first period after goals by Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone. Mika Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board late in the second period to make it 2-1, but Senators defenseman Erik Karlson answered 2:21 later, giving Ottawa back their two-goal lead.
Chris Kreider tallied 53 seconds into the third period to make it 3-2, but, despite a furious push at the very end, the Rangers could not net the equalizer. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored an empty-net goal with seven seconds left to ice the game.
Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Senators while Craig Anderson made 37 saves.
“They came out playing,” Karlsson said of the Rangers’ third period. “They scored in the first minute. They put us back on our heels. We were playing a little bit rocky there. That’s just normal. We rode it out.”
During this year’s playoff run, Karlsson, the Senators captain, has been playing with two hairline fractures in his foot. In the regular season, the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman received treatments, including injections, to deal with the pain.
“Oh [the pain’s] more and more,” Karlsson said. “That’s the way it should be. That’s the fun part of this sport. You know it’s going to hurt. It’s not going to be easy and, again, we’re not going to celebrate this for long. We’re not even close to being done what we want to do.”
During the regular season, the Capitals beat the Senators in two out of three games but were outshot 88 to 79 and outscored four goals to three. They also failed to score on the power play during all ten of their attempts.
Headline photo: Jared Silber
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