OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Jean-Gabriel Pageau might not have seen the goal that capped his `legendary game’ for the Ottawa Senators.
Pageau scored a career-high four goals, including the winner 2:54 into the second overtime to lift the Senators to a 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday, giving Ottawa a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
”I think I closed my eyes when I shot and thankfully it went in,” Pageau said of the winner. ”I was on a cloud and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
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The 24-year-old Ottawa native also scored twice in the final 3:19 to tie the score. He tipped Zack Smith’s shot past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to pull the Senators to 5-4 and then tied it by deflecting a shot by Kyle Turris with 1:02 remaining.
”That last deflection I don’t even know how he did that,” Lundqvist said. ”The way he angled the stick he didn’t even know he hit the net I think.”
Pageau scored again 2:54 into the second OT, snapping in a shot during a 2-on-1 rush alongside Tommy Wingels. Pageau is the first Senator ever with four goals in a playoff game.
”I thought his quota was full,” captain Erik Karlsson said when asked if Pageau was his pick for the double OT winner.
After his OT score, Pageau slid into the end boards, skated to the left corner and was swarmed by teammates. Wingels stopped to scoop the puck out of the goal before joining the pile.
”It’s just great to see him get rewarded: four-goal game, overtime winner. It’s just a legendary game,” teammate Dion Phaneuf said.
The Senators have a 2-0 series lead for just the second time in franchise history, and first since the 2007 Eastern Conference final against Buffalo. They have never swept a four-game series.
Marc Methot and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson had 43 saves.
Brady Skjei had two goals for New York, his second putting the Rangers up two 5:10 into the third period. Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan also scored and Lundqvist stopped 28 shots.
”We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it so it’s really tough to lose this one,” Lundqvist said. ”Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces in the first two games. We’ve just got to go home and regroup. It’s a really tough loss being up a couple goals, especially late in the game.”
The series heads to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Ottawa lost Clarke MacArthur to injury and won despite letting Grabner and Stepan score short-handed.
After Karlsson’s unlikely tally late in regulation lifted Ottawa in Game 1, the Senators came out flying early in Game 2. Canadian Tire Centre appeared near capacity after more than 2,000 seats were left empty in the opener two nights earlier.
Ottawa had three straight power-play chances early, but it didn’t even manage a shot on goal in that time, although Karlsson did hit a post. Mike Hoffman fired a sloppy pass that was picked off by Kevin Hayes at one point and MacArthur dropped another feed to no one in particular.
Grabner got his goal during Ottawa’s second power play. Stone couldn’t corral a puck that sailed around the boards, and Jesper Fast and Grabner sped away on a successful 2-on-1.
Pageau tied it with 6:01 left in the first, his second of the playoffs. The Ottawa native picked off Dan Girardi’s pass in the neutral zone, then beat Lundqvist.
Kreider and Stepan both scored in the middle of the second, then Ottawa pulled within 3-2 on Methot’s goal with six minutes to play in the period.
New York re-upped its lead when Skjei sent a seemingly harmless point shot toward goal that caromed off Phaneuf’s leg in front. The puck sailed right between Anderson’s pads, and the goalie raised his arms in frustration after not having seen it.
Stone got one past Lundqvist less than two minutes into the third, but the Rangers came back a few minutes later to increase the deficit back to two on Skjei’s second of the game and fourth of the playoffs.
Karlsson, who’s been excelling this spring despite two hairline fractures in his left foot, briefly went to the Ottawa dressing room in apparent discomfort during the middle frame. He returned, but then took a hard hit into the end boards from Ryan McDonagh as the second period expired.
MacArthur also got a heavy check from the Rangers captain late in the first period. He played two shifts in the second and didn’t return. The 32-year-old missed most of the last two seasons with concussion problems.
Senators coach Guy Boucher said MacArthur ”aggravated” something from Game 1, but was already feeling better afterward.
Karlsson, who played through two hairline fractures in his left foot in the first round, also briefly left the game and looked to be in discomfort throughout. He still logged more than 37 minutes, notched an assist and fired eight attempts on goal.
NOTES: Pageau has two career postseason hat tricks. He scored 12 goals in 82 games for Ottawa this season, and this was his first career overtime score.