Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored four goals, including the double overtime winner, as the Ottawa Senators beat the New York Rangers 6-5 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Pageau scored less than three minutes into the second overtime after potting two goals in the final three-plus minutes of regulation to tie it.
Marc Methot and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, which leads a playoff series 2-0 for only the second time in team history and first since the 2007 Eastern Conference final against Buffalo.
The Sens, who visit New York City for Game 3 on Tuesday, have never swept a series.
Craig Anderson made 43 saves in the win for Ottawa, which lost Clarke MacArthur to injury and survived in victory despite power-play failures which saw Michael Grabner and Derek Stepan both score shorthanded.
Brady Skjei also potted a pair for the Rangers, Chris Kreider notched his first of the post-season and Henrik Lundqvist surrendered six goals on 28 shots.
The Sens, who scored a Game 1 win on Erik Karlsson’s unlikely tally late in regulation Thursday night, came out flying early in Game 2. Canadian Tire Centre appeared near capacity after more than 2,000 seats were left empty in the opener two nights earlier.
Early momentum translated into three straight power-play opportunities for Ottawa, on which they neither scored or even managed a shot. They came closest when Karlsson hit a post.
Often, the power play just looked out of whack.
Mike Hoffman fired a sloppy pass that was picked off by Kevin Hayes at one point and Clarke MacArthur dropped another feed to no one in particular.
The Sens had the seventh-worst power play in the NHL during the regular season, but were coming around a bit in the post-season — thanks to improved depth, head coach Guy Boucher said.
It was on the second power play that the Rangers opened the scoring shorthanded. Stone couldn’t quite corral a puck that sailed around the boards and from there Jesper Fast and Grabner raced in, the latter finishing the two-on-one rush.
If briefly dulled by that goal and power-play opportunities lost, the Senators managed to right themselves and even the score on Pageau’s second of the playoffs and first on the night. The Ottawa native picked off Dan Girardi’s pass in the neutral zone before beating Lundqvist.
Relatively unthreatening in the opening 20 minutes, the Rangers came out with plenty lot more force in the second and took control of the game.
Anderson performed brilliantly to keep their push briefly at bay, but they finally pushed through on a shot from Kreider that the Sens goaltender appeared not to see. Stepan followed with the Rangers second of the night shorthanded.
New York mustered more short-handed goals (two) to that point than Ottawa had shots with the man advantage (zero).
The Sens, who gave up only three short-handed goals during the regular season, pulled back within one when Methot finished off a Hoffman rush with his first goal all season — the last one coming on March 19, 2016.
New York upped their lead right back to two when Skjei sent a harmless point shot on goal that looked to carom off the leg of Dion Phaneuf in front. The puck sailed right between the pads of Anderson, who raised his arms in frustration after not having seen it.
Of equal, and perhaps greater concern, to the Senators was the status of Karlsson and MacArthur.
Karlsson, who’s been excelling this spring despite two hairline fractures in his left foot, briefly went to the Ottawa dressing room in apparent discomfort during the middle frame. He returned, but then took a hard hit into the endboards from Ryan McDonagh as the second period expired.
MacArthur was also the victim of a heavy check from the Rangers captain late in the first period. He played two shifts in the second and didn’t return. The 32-year-old missed most of the last two seasons with concussion problems.
After a Game 1 win, Boucher said the Sens needed “lots and lots and lots of shots” to have any hope of beating Lundqvist, who’s found another gear in the playoffs after the worst regular season of his career. Ottawa had only 16 through two periods though after firing 43 in the opener.
Stone got one past Lundqvist less than two minutes into the third, but the Rangers came back a few minutes later to increase the deficit back to two on Skjei’s second of the game and fourth of the playoffs.
Ottawa kept coming though as the crowd came alive.
Pageau pulled them back within one yet again when he tipped a Zack Smith point shot past Lundqvist with three minutes left. The 24-year-old tied it at five with 62 seconds to go as he tipped Kyle Turris’s shot from the left face-off circle.
It was Pageau’s second career playoff hat trick. He also scored three goals in Game 3 of a 2013 first round series against Montreal.
He became the first Senator ever with four goals in a playoff game.