NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 10th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (24-15-4) at Ottawa Senators (13-20-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will be happy to be back on home ice when they welcome the struggling New York Rangers for tonight's encounter at Scotiabank Place.
The Senators are coming off a season-high eight-game road trip and dropped the last four games on that swing to finish the trek with a 1-6-1 record. The club is now back in Ottawa for two straight and five of its next six games.
Ottawa, which is last in the Northeast Division with 32 points, has recorded nine of its 13 victories this season on its home ice, going 9-6-3 in Canada's capital city.
The Senators closed the dismal road trip with Thursday's 6-4 loss in Boston. David Krejci scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and added an assist, as Boston became the first team in the NHL to reach 30 wins by topping the Senators at TD Banknorth Garden.
Chris Phillips, Brendan Bell, Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly scored the goals for Ottawa, which has also lost seven of its last eight contests. Martin Gerber gave up five goals on 21 shots in the loss.
Ottawa was without forward Jarkko Ruutu, who served the first game of a two- game suspension for biting Sabres forward Andrew Peters on Tuesday. Ruutu will complete the sentence tonight and be eligible to return Tuesday against Carolina.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have lost two straight, three of four and six of their last eight games. The slump has allowed Philadelphia to take over first place in the Atlantic Division from the Blueshirts, as the Flyers currently hold a one-point edge over the Rangers.
New York did pick up a point in a loss Friday night, as it lost a shootout decision in Buffalo. Ales Kotalik scored the lone shootout goal, as the Sabres slipped by the Rangers, 2-1, at HSBC Arena.
Kotalik was the first shooter in the extra segment and with a quick release drilled a shot that beat Steve Valiquette on the glove side. Ryan Miller turned aside all three Ranger bids, including a stop on former Sabres co- captain Chris Drury to seal the win.
Paul Mara lit the lamp for the slumping Rangers. Valiquette made a total of 20 saves in the third period and extra session and finished the game with 32 stops.
The Rangers and Sens have split a pair of meetings this year with each club winning on home ice. Ottawa has taken seven of nine in the series and New York has dropped three of four and nine of its last 11 games in Canada's capital.
01/10 10:50:04 ET