OTTAWA----Mike Sauer’s errant pass from the corner to the slot resulted in Mike Fisher’s goal to give the Senators a 1-0 lead tonight with just 2:54 gone in the first period.
But the defenseman, playing in just his 27th NHL game, forced the mistake out of his mind---and rebounded big-time. Sauer, 23, slapped in his first NHL goal on a power play to snap a 3-3 tie at 14:41 of the third period to lift the Rangers to their 11th road win, the most in the NHL.
‘You’ve got to have a short memory,” Sauer said after the Rangers 5-3 victory that was sealed with Brandon Dubinsky’s empty-netter at Scotiabank Place. “Things happen. It was early in the game so I just had to regroup, there’s a lot of game left to play and then to finish like that it makes it a little sweeter.”
With Chris Neil in the box for charging, Sauer had just come on the ice, stepped into a pass from Brandon Prust and let fly at Brian Elliott. It wasn’t exactly the prettiest goal. “My job was to get the shot on net,” he said. “It found its way, inside pad, hit the post and in. Once it hit the post, I was like, “please go in.”
Sauer’s roommate, Derek Stepan, who scored to tie the game at one in the first, was planning to rib his fellow Minnesota native. “I’m going to give him a good hard time tonight about how he shot it through the goalie’s chest,” said Stepan. “But a goal’s a goal and it came at a big time for us.”
The Rangers (17-12-1), who had been 0-for-3 on power plays, rallied from trailing by a goal three times and captured their fourth in a row away from Madison Square Garden. They face the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Saturday.
Early in the third, the Rangers were behind 3-2 when Erik Christensen scored his after the puck bounced off the end boards and his slapper from a near the goal line to the right of Brian Elliot slipped in at 3:30. “We got a little lucky,” said coach John Tortorella.
The second period had begun with a bang and a missing player. Derek Boogaard, who fought with Matt Carkner at 17:59 of the first period, did not return. Carkner broke Boogaard’s nose and injured his shoulder when he wrestled him to the ice. Carkner was given a 10-minute misconduct for either chirping or flicking blood as he passed the Rangers bench. Tortorella did not want to discuss the incident.
Jason Spezza gave the Senators a 2-1 lead at the 34-second mark on a power play and Ruslan Fedotenko tied the game at 1:43 with a high, sharp-angle short-side wrister. At 2:08, Fisher was initially awarded a goal, but replays correctly showed that his shot hit Lundqvist’s mask and went off the post and reversed the on-ice ruling. Fisher did score his second at 8:47.
“I don’t think it was a great game by either team,” said Tortorella. “It was a struggle for us defensively, and Michael (Sauer) was one of them. He’s a young kid that learns from those mistakes. At the start of the season, who’da thunk he’d be playing these minutes for us? It’s nice to see him bounce back and get rewarded.”
More noter, quotes and stats in the wrap, coming up....