Rangers force Game 7, Coyotes advance past Blackhawks

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:14am EDT
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(Reuters) - The New York Rangers fended off a late Ottawa rally to beat the Senators 3-2 and set up a Game Seven decider, while Phoenix finished off Chicago to advance to the NHL Western Conference semi-finals on Monday.

After falling behind to Chris Neil's first-period opener, Eastern Conference top seeds New York exploded for three goals in the second to tie their series at 3-3 and avoid the same fate as West top seeds Vancouver, who were eliminated on Sunday.

Derek Stepan, Brad Richards and Chris Kreider scored unanswered second-period goals to overturn the 1-0 deficit and spoil the return of Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, who missed three games with a concussion.

The Rangers will host Game Seven on Thursday.

"(Tonight) is the way we need to play and that's the way we're going to continue to play," Stepan told reporters.

The Senators charged forward in the third period and got a controversial goal with 39 seconds remaining when Jason Spezza appeared to kick the puck into the Rangers net.

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was left fuming that the goal was not chalked off.

"It's an absolute joke," said Lundqvist, who finished with 25 saves. "It scares me when it's such an obvious goal interference and a kick and they still call a goal."

In the Western Conference, Phoenix beat Chicago 4-0 to wrap up their series 4-2 on the back of netminder Mike Smith's 39-save shutout performance.   Continued...

New York Rangers players celebrate a goal by Brad Richards as Ottawa Senators' Sergei Gonchar (55) and Zenon Konopka skate off the ice during the second period of Game 6 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final playoff hockey game in Ottawa, April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie