2017 NHL Playoffs: New York Rangers dominate Senators, tie series 2-2

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Thursday night. With the win, they tied the series 2-2. Read about our confidence after the win here.

The New York Rangers needed a win on Tuesday night after blowing multiple leads in Game Two. New York responded with a dominating win over the Ottawa Senators to bring the series to 2-1. New York needed a win in Game Four to avoid going down 3-1 heading back to Ottawa.

So how did the Rangers respond?

New York throttled the Senators once again, skating the Senators out of the building. Though the score was only 3-0 going into the third period, Ottawa Head Coach Guy Boucher opted to switch goalies and sit Erik Karlsson for the remainder of the game. Though we do not know if Karlsson was too injured to play, the reality remains the same.

Everyone watching knew it and everyone in the building knew it. The Ottawa Senators looked like a peewee team against an NHL team on Thursday night. Following a disastrous performance on Tuesday night, Ottawa possessed the opportunity to bounce back and take a commanding lead.

But they simply couldn’t. The Rangers would not let them. From the opening face-off, New York was better. New York won the races to the loose pucks. They moved the puck with ease. They leveled the big hits and found the openings to exploit.

Perhaps Ottawa would have returned the favor, but there were no weaknesses to exploit. For whatever reason, the Rangers seem to like to put themselves in difficult situations, then come out flying once in those situations. This series has been a microcosm of Rangers’ playoff hockey in the Henrik Lundqvist era.

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New York fell down 2-0, including the debacle in Game Two. Despite playing better hockey than the Senators, they looked down and out. However, the Rangers realized what they had done and flipped a switch. Game Three was a masterpiece. Game Four was a work of art. All four lines were flying, the defense no longer looked like a liability, and Henrik Lundqvist could have taken naps in the net.

Part of this stems from Alain Vigneault optimizing the lineup and returning the team to Rangers hockey following Game Two. Regardless of the reasoning, Game Four (especially following Game Three) was proof that the Rangers can win the Stanley Cup this year. The talent is there. The ability to dominate must-win games is there.

Consistency will be key moving forward. The past two games become meaningless if the Rangers don’t win two of the next three. Losing this series would be unacceptable for New York. However for tonight, the line of thinking isn’t about losing. The line of thinking isn’t about the next few games.

It’s about domination. It’s about this team coming out in back to back games and making the Senators look lost. Ottawa’s led for 4:11 of the four games this series.

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Admittedly we can be negative here sometimes, but mainly because we know what the Rangers are capable of. Perhaps the Rangers have now realized it too. Regardless, the confidence level is through the roof. The Rangers’ play tonight screamed that they’re here to win. They’ve shown up.

Now it’s time to really make some noise.