|NYR Win Series 4 - 3|
SENATORS at RANGERS
(Best-of-seven series tied, 3-3)
TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, MSG
Big Story: The winner advances to the second round. The loser goes home. It doesn't get any bigger than that. The Senators are winless all-time in four Game 7s while the Rangers dropped their most recent Game 7 to the Washington Capitals in the first round three years ago.
Senators: Ottawa had an opportunity to close out the series by winning Game 6 at home and led 1-0 after the first period. But the Rangers scored three times in the second period and hung on for a 3-2 victory to even the series.
The one thing the Senators have going for them is their recent success at Madison Square Garden. They won both regular-season meetings there and have taken two out of three at MSG in this series.
"We've played well there, there's no question," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "I think overall during the year, we've been better on the road than we have at home for whatever reason. But Game 7 is Game 7, and getting off to a good start is important. That will be our focus."
The biggest disappointment for the Senators in this series has been Erik Karlsson, who led all defencemen in scoring during the regular season but has just one point in six games against the Rangers.
"I don't think [Erik] needs to do more," coach Paul MacLean said. "We just need [Karlsson] to be [Karlsson]. When [Erik] skates, that's obviously when he's at his best. He hasn't skated the way that we needed him to skate, and on [Thursday] we need him to use his skill as a skater to create offence. He's going to be a target on our team and he has to come up with ways to counteract that."
Rangers : It took a while, but the Rangers final solved Senators goaltender Craig Anderson for three goals in Game 6. Anderson had a 41-save shutout in Game 5 and shut down the Rangers in a Game 4 win after allowing two quick goals.
The Rangers are heading into Game 7 with confidence after their win in Game 6. It's a far different feeling than in 2009, when the Rangers let a 3-1 series lead get away against Washington.
"A little more positive energy in the group here winning the last game under pressure and going into this game compared to last time, when we let it slip," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "Once you're out there you're going to have the same feeling and approach it the same way, but right now I think the feeling is a little different, yeah, having won the last game under pressure."
Forward Ruslan Fedotenko, one of the few members of the team to have won a Game 7, said the contest can't be treated any differently.
"I feel like what is important to understand is it's still the game," Fedotenko said. "You need to prepare for the game. You just need to do it and show you're ready. You don't have another chance. In the regular season you can say, 'I don't have a good game today, tomorrow I'll be better.' No, no, tomorrow you don't have it. Win or go home."
Who's Hot: Lundqvist has been phenomenal in the series and has a 1.82 goals-against average and .941 save percentage … Senators centre Jason Spezza has three goals in the past two games.
Injury Report : Rangers centre Brian Boyle (concussion) and Senators winger Jesse Winchester (upper body) won't play.
Stat Pack : Of every team to play at least six games in the postseason, the Rangers have spent the most time on the power play at 52:11.
Puck Drop: "There's something to be said about going into the other team's building and upsetting the home fans. You thrive on pressure, you thrive on someone telling you that you can't win. When the other team's fans tell you that you can't win, it's one of those 'I'm going to show you and beat you in your own building. That's a hockey player's mentality, that's how it works. We're all pretty competitive guys." — Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.
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