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Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Senators get mad, Rangers get even

Lost somewhere in the commotion of the extracurriculars of Game 4 and an injury scare to Erik Karlsson: It appears the Rangers have returned.

Behind eight goals in two games and stellar goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, New York has mounted back-to-back wins to pull even with the Senators in their second-round playoff series. If Thursday's 4-1 victory was any indication, all the momentum is headed in favor of the Blueshirts.

Example A was Karlsson's departure following the second period.

The Norris Trophy finalist has been playing through fractures in his left heel all postseason and appeared to aggravate the injury during a sequence of collisions. He was favoring his left leg and didn't return to the third period with the Rangers leading 3-0.


Senators coach Guy Boucher said keeping Karlsson out was a matter of erring on the side of caution, but a three-goal deficit is hardly insurmountable. 

Karlsson is Ottawa's unquestioned MVP, so if he goes, Ottawa's chances at advancing could go too. New York opened a 4-0 lead with him in the locker room in the third period and didn't look back, though that's about when teams started piling up the penalty minutes.

Senators forward Bobby Ryan was given a game misconduct for trying to fight the Rangers' Dan Girardi, who wasn't so willing. That incident was sandwiched between a pair of line scrums with usually candidate Dion Phaneuf and Tanner Glass contributing to the madness. The teams accounted for 58 penalty minutes in the third period alone.

Couple those frustrations with the Karlsson uncertainty and an uncharacteristically shaky performance from goalie Craig Anderson — he was pulled to start the third period after allowing three goals on 20 shots — and the Senators are starting to come unhinged.

In total, the Sens have held a lead for just four minutes, 11 seconds in the series. Anderson has given up 12 goals on his last 98 shots.

As the series shifts back to Ottawa, it's starting to look like the Rangers' to lose


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