Foresight and faith found their reward.

Led by the scoring of homegrown defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, the Rangers advanced past the Senators with a 2-1 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last night at the Garden.

Staal and Girardi were also key in fighting off late charges in the third period by the Senators, as the two tied with a game-high three blocked shots and played game-highs of 26:44 (Staal) and 25:49 (Girardi).

"That's an ideal game for a defenseman, to keep the puck out of our end and get some stuff offensively," Girardi said. "We're trying to get up the ice as a decoy to create some more offense and it just happens that we get two goals tonight. When so much is on the line, you just want to be out there. You want to make a difference."