The Ottawa Senators may be up 3-2 in their Eastern Conference second round playoff series against the New York Rangers, but they aren’t taking anything for granted. Despite being one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2007, the Senators know they’ve got work to do.
For one, they’ve only held the lead in the series for 13:10. They’ve allowed the first goal in all five games against the Rangers thus far. And they’ve been outplayed for long stretches.
Taking the Game Six win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday won’t be easy, especially considering how Ottawa never led in their two games on Broadway.
“We need to be better than the last time we were here,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “We’ve got to have a good 10-minute start because we know they’ll come out surging. We want a good start and having a good start doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have the lead, but we just don’t want to give up freebies and want to have a push back right away because we know they’re going to be surging.”
Game Five saw Ottawa fall behind 2-0 at the Canadian Tire Centre before scoring the next three goals and taking the eventual 5-4 overtime win.
But there’s no way the Senators want to get behind 2-0 at the Garden.
Ottawa went 22-17-2 on the road during the regular season and they played well on the road in the first round of this year’s playoffs, closing out all three games at the TD Garden against Boston. But they’ve struggled in New York, losing Game Three and Game Four.
“We just have to bring [this game] on the road, just have fun with it,” said centre Derick Brassard. “I think we were a little too tight there, a little too serious. We just have to go back and have fun.”
Boucher will make any and all lineup decisions on Tuesday and that could have a lot to do with how fun Game Six will be. Chris Neil saw his 2017 playoff debut in Game Five and played under two and a half minutes, earning a 10-minute misconduct for his efforts. He may be a factor in favour of Ryan Dzingel.