With Vezina-caliber goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers are rarely out-dueled in net, but the team could not solve Sens netminder Craig Anderson in the team's 2-0 shutout loss in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden Saturday.
Anderson was outstanding in a 41-save effort to earn his 4th shutout of the season and 20th of his career. His stellar performance frustrated an already goal-hungry Rangers squad and led his Senators team to a 3-2 series lead with both clubs heading back to Ottawa for Game 6 on Monday.
"He played well. He's been playing well in the series," said Lundqvist, who was also stellar in turning away all but one of the Senators 29 shots. :It's a challenge for us to win this. We have to keep working, have to keep pushing ourselves to play even better and get a little more involved in front of the net."
The Rangers generated plenty of offense, but did not establish much of a net presence to force Anderson from his comfort zone. When asked if the Rangers did enough to create traffic in front of him, alternate captain Brad Richards answered tersely:
"We didn't win, so, no."
Since yielding four goals in the team's 4-2 loss to New York in Game 1, Anderson has let up only five in the last four games, three in the last three. His efforts have put the Senators in the driver's seat approaching Game 6. Only once in franchise history have the Rangers surmounted a 3-2 series deficit to stave off elimination and advance to the next round.
"You're going to run into hot goalies and some good defense in the playoffs," said captain Ryan Callahan, who was denied by Anderson on a third-period breakaway, "It just comes down to one game and we have to go to Ottawa and win the hockey game. We have a resilient group and we have confidence. We have to win that one and come back here and see what happens."