Ottawa, ON – Derek Stepan registered a goal and two assists, as the New York Rangers staved off elimination with a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Scotiabank Place.
Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for the top-seeded Rangers, who avoided a third straight loss and will host a decisive seventh game on Thursday.
Craig Anderson stopped 19 shots for Ottawa.
In order to pull off a stunning upset, the Senators will have to do something never done previously in franchise history: win a Game 7. They have been outscored by a 13-5 margin while dropping four such terminable contests.
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson was back in the lineup Monday after he missed the past three games of the series with a concussion. Alfredsson was injured in Game 2 courtesy of an elbow from New York's Carl Hagelin. The rookie forward also returned after serving a three-game suspension for the hit.
Ottawa opened the scoring on a power play 7:05 into the contest. With the Rangers' Mike Rupp off for roughing, Nick Foligno set up Sergei Gonchar for a one-timer from the right point. Chris Neil provided a screen in front of Lundqvist and deflected Gonchar's blast behind the New York goaltender.
Many wondered following Game 5 if Neil would be punished for his concussion-inducing hit against 6-foot-7 pivot Brian Boyle, the Rangers' leading goal-scorer in this series. The NHL decided against handing out any supplemental discipline, while Boyle, who scored goals in each of the first three games, sat out Monday's contest.
New York scored twice on the power play during a three-goal second period.
The Rangers pulled even when Stepan directed Brad Richards' feed from the right circle past Anderson while Ottawa was a man down at 8:55.
They grabbed the lead by cashing in a two-man advantage as Richards unloaded a slap shot that sailed between the right arm and body of Anderson at 17:08.
Chris Kreider potted his first professional goal off a cross-ice pass from Stepan with 40.3 seconds remaining. Kreider, who made his NHL debut in Game 3 after capturing a national championship with Boston College, beat Anderson moments after teammate Brandon Prust hit the post on a breakaway.
The Senators were awarded a goal that appeared to be kicked in by an Ottawa player with 38.4 seconds left in the third period. The tally was credited to Jason Spezza.
Lundqvist passed Dave Kerr for third place on the Rangers' all-time playoff list with 18 wins...Ottawa forward Jakob Silfverberg made his NHL debut after helping Brynas claim the championship in the Swedish Elite League...New York finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while the Senators were 1-for-5.