Brian Boyle scored the winner as the New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators 1-0 Monday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
The Rangers now lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is set for Wednesday in Ottawa.
Both goaltenders had to be at their best and on this night they matched one another save-for-save, with the exception of one.
Henrik Lundqvist earned the shutout stopping 39 shots, while Ottawa’s Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots.
Lundqvist’s biggest save came in the last minute of regulation, robbing Kyle Turris with a quick pad save.
The Senators were forced to play without captain Daniel Alfredsson who continues to suffer the effects from a hit to the head by Carl Hagelin in Game 2. Bobby Butler replaced Alfredsson.
Hagelin was suspended for three games and in his absence Chris Kreider was inserted into New York’s lineup. Kreider was making his NHL debut.
Scoreless after 40 minutes the third period promised to be entertaining and it didn’t disappoint.
The Senators dominated play early in the period, forcing Lundqvist to make a number of saves. It was following one of these flurries that the Rangers regained possession and opened the scoring.
Boyle, who has scored in all three games, took a rebound off the side of the net and backhanded it past Anderson to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
With 7:09 remaining the Senators went on the power play, but it was short lived as Chris Phillips took a slashing penalty on Boyle who had a breakaway opportunity.
The Senators dominated much of the second period, outshooting the Rangers 13-8, but that’s not to say New York didn’t have their chances.
At the 11-minute mark of the second, Ruslan Fedotenko had a shot hit the post and on the rebound managed to get just enough of the puck that it trickled across the goal-line as both Anderson and forward Jason Spezza dove to smother it.
After an official review, it was it was clear the puck did not cross the goal-line.
Anderson made a great save on Brandon Dubinsky late in the period to uphold the stalemate.
Lundqvist was forced to make a number of stops in the second as Ottawa’s fourth line wreaked havoc. Jim O’Brien was stopped twice and Erik Condra and Zack Smith each had a great chance as well.
Turris also missed a great opportunity midway through the period.
A scoreless first period featured chances by both teams, but neither was able to capitalize, despite both having power play opportunities. Both teams have struggled with the man advantage through this series.
The Senators haven’t won a playoff game on home ice since Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, a losing streak that now spans seven games.
Ottawa is now 0-3 in the post-season when playing without Alfredsson in the lineup.