Senators tie Rangers with OT win, as Erik Karlsson makes statement

With this Chris Neil goal just 1:17 into overtime, the Ottawa Senators have a series again with the New York Rangers — winning 3-2, knotting it up at 1-1 headed back to Ottawa.

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The sequence began with an icing call on Dan Girardi of the Rangers after a good start to the OT by the Senators. Captain Ryan Callahan went to the Rangers bench and remained there with a cut on his chin. Zack Smith won the draw in the offensive zone against Brian Boyle, and Sergei Gonchar sent a point shot screaming past the Rangers' goal. The Senators worked the puck in front of Henrik Lundqvist before it was swept away, but not cleared.

Smith helped it along the half-boards to Jared Cowen, who took another blast from the point. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh blocked the shot but was injured in doing so. That left Chris Neil unmarked for the rebound, and he put it home past Lundqvist for the Game 2 victory.

The Senators tied the game with 4:37 remaining in regulation, on a nice passing play that resulted in a Zenon Konopka backhander floating through the Rangers' defense to Nick Foligno, who tucked it past Lundqvist.

It was a nasty, brutal game: From the Matt Carkner assault on Brian Boyle to Carl Hagelin's controversial head shot that knocked Daniel Alfredsson out of the contest.

It was also, arguably, the most important game of Erik Karlsson's season.

The standout defenseman for the Senators was abused in Game 1, taking a physical beating from the Rangers and struggling. In Game 2, he saw more physical play and had a defensive lapse that led to a New York goal; but he also scored a power play goal, helped spark the play that lead to the game-tying goal and played a game high 30:06. Karlsson took 10 shots, had five more blocked and missed on six.

Karlsson was their MVP in the regular season. The Rangers limited him in Game 1. He was a difference maker in Game 2.

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