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Senators win in OT, tie series; Neil gets winner to defeat Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators made it clear early and late with their fists and sticks that they aren't going to be pushed around by the top-seeded New York Rangers.

Matt Carkner got back into the Ottawa lineup, and made his presence felt right away by settling his club's score in a one-sided fight with Rangers forward Brian Boyle. Chris Neil, known for his punches, delivered the final blow by scoring 1:17 into overtime to give the Senators a 3-2 victory in Game Two on Saturday night.

The series heads to Ottawa tied, 1-1, and is assured of returning to New York for Game Five.

"It's an exciting time to get a goal, for sure," said Neil, who had 13 goals and 178 penalty minutes during the regular season. "It doesn't matter to us. Numbers, statistics, that's not for us. We're a team, this is a team game, and it's all about getting a win at this time of year."

Neil got to a loose puck in front off a rebound and backhanded the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"We stressed getting pucks to the net, and getting traffic there, as well. That's the kind of goals that you win with," Neil said. "They are greasy goals, and we'll take it. It's big momentum for us and we've just got to keep on building on it."

The Rangers seemed poised to grab a 2-0 series lead when Brian Boyle scored in the third period, but Nick Foligno tied it with 4:37 left in regulation.


Blues blank Sharks

ST. LOUIS -- Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak combined for a shutout, the San Jose Sharks put themselves in an early hole when Marc-Edouard Vlasic tapped the puck into his own net and the St. Louis Blues evened the first-round series at a game apiece with a 3-0 victory Saturday night.

Vladimir Sobotka was credited with a goal on the first shot of the game after Vlasic's gaffe. David Backes and David Perron also scored, and T.J. Oshie had two assists in the Blues' first playoff victory since 2004.

Halak and Elliott combined for 15 shutouts in the regular season, tying a modern NHL record, and won the Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals allowed. Elliott, who had nine of the shutouts, came on when Halak's left leg was bent underneath his body early in second period after Blues defenseman Barret Jackman slid into him.

The Blues announced midway through the second period that Halak was expected to return, but he never made it back to the bench. Halak finished with 12 saves, and Elliott stopped 17 shots

Antti Niemi made 29 saves for the seventh-seeded Sharks, who were shut out in both regular-season meetings in St. Louis, with Halak and Elliott getting one apiece.

The game turned feisty at the finish, with Blues defenseman Roman Polak and Sharks defenseman Justin Braun tangling after the final horn.


Today's games

*The Flyers have gotten off to bad starts, but still rallied to win two games in Pittsburgh. They hope to start faster in Game Three at home today (3 p.m., Ch. 2).

*The Red Wings won 23 home games in a row this season, so they'll be happy to host the Predators today (12 noon, Ch. 2 & Ch. 5). The series is tied, 1-1.

*The Panthers already have lost the home-ice advantage in the series with New Jersey. Now Florida must try to avoid losing the first two games of the series in tonight's Game Two (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).

*Vancouver is in a huge hole, having lost the first two games of the series with Los Angeles. The Kings will try to keep the momentum tonight (10:30 p.m., NBCSN).

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