OTTAWA -- The Eastern Conference quarterfinals, full of twists and turns, will last at least six games.
After leading 2-0 in the first period last night, the Rangers lost Game 4 to the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, in overtime, and their brief grip on the best-of-seven series loosened.
The Senators stormed back with two goals in the second period and after a scoreless third period, Kyle Turris won it on a high, glove-side wrister from the left side at 2:42 of overtime that capped the comeback in the second overtime game of the series, now even at 2-2.
"Obviously, we dipped in the second and we've got to stay out of the box," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "We've got a two-goal lead and they're a good enough team to come back and they did. We know what's at stake, it's a best-of-three now and we go back home. We had a loss before and we responded. "
With two quick power-play goals from Anton Stralman at :49 and Ryan Callahan at 6:10, the Rangers took the lead for the fourth consecutive game.
The Senators were playing without captain Daniel Alfredsson, sidelined with a concussion, but center Jason Spezza said before the game, "We don't know how he feels; we can't sit around waiting for him to come back." And they didn't.
In the second period, with the Rangers up by a pair, Matt Carkner hooked Marc Staal, but the Rangers could not convert with the man advantage. That was when the Senators starting turning up the heat. Craig Anderson made a big save on Brian Boyle's redirection at 7:04, and Spezza fed the puck up ice for a two-on-one. Carkner, playing after serving a one-game suspension for ambushing Boyle, slid the puck past Ryan McDonagh to Milan Michalek, who lifted a backhander past Henrik Lundqvist, who came into the game off a 39-save shutout on Monday.
Zach Smith's high shoulder to Ruslan Fedotenko's head near the blue line left the Senators a man short, and Jesse Winchester saved a goal by clearing the puck from behind Anderson in the crease. That would have restored some order for the Rangers.
Instead, Artem Anisimov's hook with 3:12 left gave the Senators more life, and they tied it when Lundqvist just didn't get enough of Sergei Gonchar's blast from near the right circle, and the puck trickled through with Turris battling in front with 2:10 remaining.
"You're playing with fire," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "They have a good power play. Two dumb penalties [Stu Bickel went off for holding a stick at 8:11], Artie's especially, and it ends up biting you. It's frustrating to lose in overtime . . . I still think we need to have more guys involved."
Gonchar's goal blunted a fast start for the Blueshirts. Just 39 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Rangers, who were 1-for-11 on the power play in the first three games, had an opportunity when Zach Smith shoved McDonagh headfirst into the glass from behind. Stralman, cheating in from the right point, fired a wrister by Anderson 10 seconds later.
Callahan extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:10 while defenseman Erik Karlsson was in the box for tripping Anisimov.
"You're always disappointed," Lundqvist said, "but we can't get stuck here. I said it after the second game, we didn't expect this to be easy. I still think we did a lot of good things in the third, we just came up short. We had a lead, but it was early, there was a lot of hockey left."