Ottawa coach Paul MacLean obviously decided that he had seen enough of Erik Karlsson getting banged around by the New York forwards in game one, and inserted Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka into the Senators line up in place of Matt Gilroy and Kaspars Daugavins.
Carkner made an immediate impact on the game when he went balistic on Rangers forward Brian Boyle just two minutes into the game. Carkner delivered several unanswered punches to Boyle’s face, and set off a wild melee that saw him and Brandon Dubinsky tossed from the game as a result.
The Rangers went to the locker room up 1-0 on the strength of an Anton Stralman powerplay tally, but Carkner delivered the message with his fists that the Senators were not going to roll over and go quietly.
The momentum started to shift Ottawa’s way in the second period after Karlsson bounced a shot off of the skate of New York defenseman Michael Del Zotto’s skate, and past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the score.
The pendulum swung back to the Rangers early in the third when the aforementioned Boyle got his revenge on the Senators when he beat Craig Anderson with a shot from the slot to make it 2-1 New York.
Anderson performed admirably in the game, making 27 save in the contest, and really held Ottawa in the game when the momentum swung in New York’s direction.
Ottawa put on a mighty push for the tying goal over the last 10 minutes of the third, and their hard work paid off when Nick Foligno slapped rebound off a Konopka shot past Lundqvist with just under five minutes to play in regulation.
The Senators continued to press for the remainder of the third, and into the overtime period.
Chris Neil sent the Senators fans into a frenzy when he beat Lundqvist with a backhand shot at 1:17 of OT to give Ottawa the 3-2 win, and sent the series back to Canada’s capital knotted at 1-1.
Game three will go on Monday at Scotiabank Place.