Just when the nervous towel-waving fans began to relax and feel confident that the Rangers would survive and move on to the second round, Alfredsson gave the Senators a big boost and brought back the tension.
Ottawa went on its second power play when Michael Del Zotto was called for cross-checking nemesis Chris Neil in front of the net. Alfredsson, who missed three games in the series after an elbow from Hagelin in Game 2 gave him a concussion, made New York pay.
Alfredsson took a pass above the left circle from Chris Phillips and one-timed a shot past Lundqvist with 8:26 left in the second to bring the Senators back within a goal.
Now the question remains if the 39-year-old Senators captain will retire after 16 NHL seasons — all with Ottawa.
"I'll take some time and see how I feel physically and mentally after time off, but this year has been unbelievable," said Alfredsson, who struggled this season with concussions. "I had a lot of fun, and it's been a great group of guys to be a part of. They've kept me upbeat and happy when I'm a grumpy old man at times."
The Rangers didn't get their first power play of the night until Filip Kuba went off for interference with 1:24 left in the second, but New York did little with the advantage that carried over into the third. The Rangers' second power play at 3:51 of the third was even worse, and nearly costly, when Milan Michalek had a chance right in front of Lundqvist after a turnover.
Ottawa kept lots of pressure in the Rangers' end throughout the scoreless first period. The Senators had the lone power play, and moved the puck all around the New York zone, but Lundqvist stayed square to every drive that came his way. He took one deflected puck in the middle of his Statue Of Liberty mask.
The biggest hit of the opening frame was a cruncher from Girardi, who leveled fellow defenseman Erik Karlsson with a big open-ice check in the Rangers' zone.
Neil heard plenty of derisive chants, boos, and other things during various shifts. He has drawn the ire of the Rangers and their fans for his hit on Brian Boyle that gave the New York center a concussion and sidelined him for the final two games of the series.
After taking a hit from Del Zotto in Game 6, Neil issued a threat toward Del Zotto that he would catch the young Rangers defenseman with his head down at some point.
NOTES: Former Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy rejoined the Ottawa lineup after being scratched the previous three games. He replaced Matt Carkner, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1, played in the second game, was suspended for Game 3, and was in the lineup for the previous three. ... Dubinsky was shaken up midway through the third after a collision with Ottawa's Zack Smith along the boards. ... Staal has three career playoff goals. Alfredsson has 47. ... It is the first time since 1996 that no Canadian teams reached the second round.
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