NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 5th (All times eastern)
Ottawa Senators (11-14-2) at New York Rangers (16-11-1), 5 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers showed over their last two contests that they can win with either offense or defense. Now they'll hope to win three straight games for the first time in almost three weeks as they take on the Ottawa Senators this evening at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have won six of their last eight games and are coming off a home- and-home sweep of the rival Islanders. After edging out a 6-5 victory on Long Island Thursday, the Blueshirts used defense and 17 saves from Henrik Lundqvist to notch a 2-0 home victory the following night.
Lundqvist, who relieved Martin Biron in Thursday's win and made nine saves on 11 shots, picked up his second shutout in four starts, fourth of the season and 28th of his career.
"It was totally different than [Thursday] night's game," Rangers' head coach John Tortorella said. "I thought as the game went on, especially in the second period, we started taking control of it. We didn't develop a lot of offense but I thought we took control."
Marc Staal scored the game-winner on the power play and Brian Boyle added an empty-net score for the Rangers, who haven't won three straight since Nov. 11-15 and improved to 6-7-1 at home this year.
New York will be looking to extend Ottawa's scoring drought this evening as the Senators have been shut out in back-to-back contests and haven't recorded a goal in their last 177 minutes and 30 seconds of action.
After a 4-0 loss to San Jose on Thursday, Ottawa was dealt a tough-luck 1-0 shootout loss on Saturday versus Buffalo. Brian Elliott was credited with his ninth career shutout after making 31 saves, but he was bested by the Sabres' Thomas Vanek for the lone shootout tally.
"We played pretty hard tonight and didn't get the result we want," said Ottawa's Jason Spezza. "It's hockey. You gotta put the puck in the net."
The Senators dropped the final three contests of a four-game homestand and have lost eight of their last 10 overall. They have also been held to a pair of goals or less in 10 of their last 12 games and bring a four-game road skid into this meeting.
Daniel Alfredsson leads Ottawa with eight goals and 10 assists but hasn't scored in eight straight games and has gone without a point in six in a row. Former Ranger Alex Kovalev has just two goals in his last 13 games, while Spezza hasn't scored in six consecutive contests.
Though the Senators' goaltending has been decent, neither Elliott nor Pascal Leclaire own a career victory over New York. Elliott, who picked up his third shutout of the season on Saturday, is 0-2-1 with a 2.61 goals-against average versus the Blueshirts, while Leclaire is 0-2-0 with a 3.01 GAA versus them.
The Rangers took three of four from the Senators last year, but have dropped two of three and seven of their last nine at home in this series.
Lundqvist is 8-10-0 with a 1.98 GAA lifetime versus Ottawa.
12/05 10:30:41 ET