Updated 04/13/2012 11:57 AM
Rangers Win Playoff Opener 4-1 Over Ottawa At MSG
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Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves and Brian Boyle got the eventual game-winning goal as the New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators in their playoff opener Thursday night.
The 4-2 win sent a happy crowd home from Madison Square Garden.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan opened the scoring for the Blueshirts midway through the first period, only to see the Senators take back the momentum in the second.
But Rangers coach John Tortorella called a pivotal timeout, and his team responded with goals by Marian Gaborik, Boyle, and Brad Richards.
Ottawa got two late goals to pull within two, but the damage was done.
Thursday's win was only the Rangers' second home playoff victory since 2009, and the team will go for a repeat performance in Game 2 of the seven-game series on Saturday night.
The Rangers, who last won the Stanley Cup in 1994, entered the post-season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and have home ice advantage in every round at least until the finals.
During the regular season they won three of four games to eighth-seeded Ottawa, including both games in New York.
Lundqvist, who has never taken the Rangers past the second round of the playoffs, said before Thursday's game that he has high hopes for this post-season.
"I think we're playing well, obviously, with more confidence," said Lundqvist. "It's been a fun year and now it's time to try to step it up even more and push ourselves here to player our absolute best."
Before the game, tour buses took Blueshirts fans between the Garden and 47th Street so they could chant "Let's go Rangers!" to the people gathered below.
Afterwards, fans were ecstatic about the Blueshirts' win.
"It's all about the Rangers. '94 is back," screamed one fan.
"The Rangers winning the cup in '94 was my first sports memory. My dad blasted 'We Are The Champions.' I was five years old, it was the greatest thing of my life."
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as is his tradition, made a friendly wager with Ottawa Mayor James Watson.
If the Rangers win the series, Ottawa will send the iconic Ottawa pastry known as a beaver tail to the city.
If the Senators win, they will get blueberry cheesecake from Court Pastry Shop in Brooklyn.