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The New York Rangers avoided an upset Thursday night as they defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in game seven moving on to the second round of the playoffs.

The Rangers are breathing a sigh of relief after they survived a final flurry from the Senators. After the President’s Trophy Canucks lost to the Kings, the Senators were on the verge of pulling an upset as well. However, the Rangers showed why they were the number seed in the Eastern Conference holding off the Ottawa Senators.

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The Rangers knew it was not going to be easy because the Senators had taken the season series 3-1. The Senators played well in Madison Square Garden having success in the building. The Senators gutted out a Game five victory heading home with a chance to eliminate the Rangers in Game six. The Rangers played resilient hockey to win and pull off a big road win to tie the series.

The Rangers opened up the scoring when Derek Stepan fed defenseman Marc Staal, who put the puck past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. The Rangers would make the lead 2-0 when Dan Girardi scored 4 minutes and 18 seconds later. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves to preserve the victory for the Rangers.

Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Alfredsson, at the age of 39, could have played his last game for the Senators. Going into this season Alfredsson had stated this season could be his last.

Alfredsson will take some time in making a decision about his future. “I’ll take some time and see how I feel physically and mentally after time off. I had a lot of fun this season, which has been unbelievable. The group has been great and has kept me upbeat when I have been grumpy at times.”

The Senators were picked to finish last in the Eastern Conference. They had one of the youngest teams in the league, but proved the experts wrong. The Senators were led by their captain Alfredsson, defenseman Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek.

Craig Anderson was another big reason the Senators were in game seven with the heavily favored Rangers. Anderson was not the reason the Senators lost this series. He played superb and at times out played Lundqvist in the series. Ottawa could not score goals in the big moments in games six and seven.

The Rangers stars played well at the big moments. Brad Richards stepped up his game in game six. He was quite all series, but when the series was on the line he showed up. Derek Stepan elevated his game in the two elimination games the Rangers were in. The Rangers power-play which was silent all playoffs long woke up and scored big goals. However, Marian Gaborik was a ghost and he will have to elevate his game in the next round.

The last time the Rangers hosted a game seven was in 1994 Stanley Cup Finals against Vancouver. The Rangers stayed perfect on home ice in the deciding game. They are 4-5 in game sevens, while the Senators dropped to 0-5.

The Rangers will face off with the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

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