NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 2nd
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (28-27-7) at Ottawa Senators (36-23-4), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After a break of more than two weeks, the Ottawa Senators
continue their quest for a Northeast Division title when the New York Rangers
head to Scotiabank Place tonight for an important matchup between Eastern
The Senators surged to the top of the Northeast standings with a remarkable
month-long run that preceded the NHL's lengthy layoff for the Winter Olympics.
Ottawa won 14 of its final 16 contests prior to the stoppage, a stretch which
began with a 2-0 triumph over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January
Ottawa, which now owns a one-point edge on Buffalo for the division's top
spot, kept up its red-hot ways with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the
New York Islanders on February 14. Down 3-1 after two periods, the Senators
rallied to take the lead on goals from Alex Kovalev, Jason Spezza and Mike
Fisher in the third.
"I just told them, 'We have to get back to the game plan,'" said Senators head
coach Cory Clouston about the third period. "I said, 'If we get one early, we
can get one late, whether we do it in overtime or in the last few minutes.'
That's really all I said -- believe in how we can play. Credit to the guys."
Ottawa also enters tonight's clash riding a seven-game home winning streak and
owns an outstanding 23-8-3 record as the host this season. The Rangers have
won in each of their last two visits to Scotiabank Place, however, including a
2-1 shootout decision there on November 14.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35-of-36 shots for New York in that November win, and
the standout goaltender was sharp as well while competing for Sweden in the
Olympics. Lundqvist posted a shutout in two of his three starts during the
tournament and finished with a 1.34 goals against average for the fifth-place
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson was a teammate of Lundqvist on the Swedish
squad, while Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu earned a bronze medal as a member
of Finland. Defensemen Anton Volchenkov (Russia) and Filip Kuba (Czech
Republic) also represented Ottawa in Vancouver, with left wing Milan Michalek
joining Kuba on the Czech team.
Rangers forwards Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan were both members of the United
States team that captured a silver medal after falling in overtime to favored
Canada in Sunday's championship game. Center Olli Jokinen helped Finland claim
the bronze by scoring two late goals that lifted his club to a 5-3 win over
Slovakia, which contained Rangers leading scorer Marian Gaborik, on Saturday.
Gaborik, who netted four goals in seven outings for the Slovaks, sat out New
York's most recent test due to a cut on his right leg, but Erik Christensen
helped offset the star sniper's loss by scoring two goals and adding an assist
in a 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay on February 14. Lundqvist did his part as well
by stopping 27-of-29 chances on the afternoon.
The win was the second in a row for the Rangers, who are tied for ninth place
in the East with 63 points and one point back of Montreal for the conference's
eighth and final playoff seed. New York had defeated division-rival Pittsburgh
in overtime on February 12.
03/02 10:45:03 ET