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Sens a win away from finishing upset

NEW YORK -- Craig Anderson marveled at the history portrayed on the walls of Madison Square Garden. His playoff performance against the New York Rangers will certainly be remembered even if it's not celebrated at the "World's Most Famous Arena."

Anderson stopped 41 shots and made Jason Spezza's first-period goal and empty-netter stand up as the Ottawa Senators pushed the top-seeded Rangers to the brink of elimination with a 2-0 victory Saturday night in Game Five.

"You walk down the hallway and you see the photos of who's played here and what sporting events have happened here," Anderson said. "It's just magical. To be part of it is beyond words."

If things go well at home, he and the Senators won't have to make a return trip to the Garden until next season.

The Senators, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, have won two straight and will have a chance to knock out the Rangers on Monday night. If New York can stay alive, the deciding Game Seven would be back in New York on Thursday night.

"We know we are going to get their best," Spezza said. "The first thing you learn is that the toughest thing is to put a team out of the playoffs. We can enjoy this one for all of 10 minutes and get refocused. We know they are the best team in the East. They'll give us their best game and we have to be sure we match that."

Spezza sealed this win by scoring with 55.3 seconds remaining, and Anderson was perfect in earning his second career NHL playoff shutout. Since New York took a 2-0 lead in the first period of its 3-2 overtime loss in Game Four, Anderson has gone 116 minutes, 32 seconds without allowing a goal -- stopping 66 consecutive shots. He has given up just five goals in four games.


Blues take series

ST. LOUIS -- Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scored in a 45-second span in the third period, and the St. Louis Blues woke up in time to put away the San Jose Sharks 3-1 and wrap up the first-round series in five games.

Joe Thornton scored in the final minute of the second period for San Jose, which seemed to be in control before the flurry that ended its season.

Brian Elliott made 26 saves, and Andy McDonald ended all doubt with an empty-net goal in the final minute. St. Louis, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, won a playoff series for the first time in a decade against a franchise that reached the conference finals the previous two years. Before this series, St. Louis hadn't won a playoff game in eight years.

"The fans have been waiting a long time and have been very patient," said defenseman Barret Jackman, the lone holdover from the last playoff team in 2004. "It's nice to give them a little taste of what's to come."


Panthers blank Devils

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Versteeg scored a goal and set up another, Jose Theodore made 30 saves for his second postseason shutout, and the Florida Panthers moved a win away from their first series win in 16 years with a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Scottie Upshall also scored for Florida, which leads the Eastern Conference first-round series, 3-2. The Panthers' last series victory came in the 1996 East finals, and they'll have two chances to snap that drought.

Tomas Kopecky was credited with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left, after Ilya Kovalchuk impeded his clear path to the net.


Today's games

*The Philadelphia Flyers have a 3-2 series lead and home ice for Game Six (noon, Ch. 2). The Pittsburgh Penguins have the two-game winning streak and all the confidence in the world since falling behind 3-0 in the series.

*Goalie Cory Schneider is expected to start again for Vancouver with its season on the brink tonight (8 p.m., NBCSN, Ch. 5). He made 43 saves in Game Four to prevent a Los Angeles four-game sweep.

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