NEW YORK -- The Senators couldn't have picked a bigger stage than Broadway to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The 2-1 victory over the Rangers last night to start a six-game trip moves Ottawa ahead of Toronto into 11th in the East -- seven points out of a playoff spot with 10 games left.
Goaltender Alex Auld was tremendous in making 28 stops as the Senators won their fifth straight. Ryan Shannon, raised an hour outside New York City in a Connecticut suburb, scored the winner at 1:09 of the third, while Mike Comrie chipped in with his 10th goal of the season.
While the Senators still need to overtake the Panthers, Sabres and eighth-place Canadiens, they won't miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years without a fight.
"I'm going to leave (the playoffs) to you guys to talk about. I think it's possible, but I'm not going to talk about it," said captain Daniel Alfredsson.
'Small' room for error
"If you do, why put the pressure on yourself? We know the margin of error is so small. We lose one game here or there and mathematically we could be out of it. Our approach is to win one game."
The winner last night came when Shannon was allowed to skate into the right circle -- untouched by former Senators defenceman Wade Redden -- and beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist high on the glove side.
The Rangers had two power-play opportunities in the third, but didn't get much in the way of chances as Ottawa shut the door.
But Senators coach Cory Clouston was not happy with his team's performance in the final 20 minutes.
"We sat back a little bit too much in a shell in the third and let them dictate the pace," said Clouston.
The decision to start Auld came as a surprise on the heels of Brian Elliott's eighth straight win Saturday -- a 5-2 decision at home over the Islanders.
Clouston wanted to give his rookie goaltender a rest with the club playing its fourth game in six days.
It was tough test for Auld, who dropped a 5-3 decision in his last start against the Bruins March 12, and looked shaky on the first goal last night.
Auld was caught out of position trying to play the puck, allowing Sean Avery to throw it out front to Brandon Dubinsky, who was ignored by defenceman Christoph Schubert and simply deposited the puck into the open net.
"One of the last things we said before we went out was to stay in the net on the glass shots," said Auld. "It actually went where I wanted it go, but it went under the backhand of the curve of my stick.
"But it's a good sign that we've shown resilience and came back."
Auld showed his own resilience, thwarting the Rangers the rest of the way -- including on a Nik Antropov break-away in the second.
"It's nice to contribute and be a part of it. I've always really liked playing here," said Auld.
Comrie, who returned after missing three games with the flu, scored his third since being dealt to the Senators to tie it at 6:09 of the second. He picked up his own rebound off defenceman Dan Girardi's leg and backhanded it by Lundqvist on the stick side.
"As players, you want to win every game," said Comrie. "As professionals, you try not to get caught up (in the playoff race) because you start watching other teams. You stop focusing on yourselves."