RANGERS (33-29-4) at SENATORS (22-33-9)
TV: TSN (HD), RDS, MSG 2
Last 10: New York 4-6-0; Ottawa 5-4-1
Season series: Third of four meetings this season. Each team has won in its opponent's building. Chris Kelly had the hat trick to lead Ottawa to a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 5. Four days later, New York used a three-goal third period, highlighted by Michael Sauer's first NHL score, to record a 5-3 win at Scotiabank Place.
Big story: For most of the season, the Rangers have had at least some cushion between themselves and the pack constituting the non-playoff teams. But after their third straight loss on Thursday night and Carolina's overtime win, the Blueshirts find themselves in eighth place and only two points ahead of ninth-place Buffalo. Playing last-place Ottawa gives them the opportunity to right the ship, but keep in mind the Senators come off a win Thursday in Atlanta and also defeated first-place Philadelphia last weekend.
Rangers: It appeared New York had the advantage playing a Minnesota team that struggled mightily in losing on Long Island on Wednesday and was in action for the second straight night, and the Rangers capitalized early by taking the early lead on a Sean Avery goal. But they were stymied from that point on by an old nemesis, goalie Jose Theodore, who stopped the other 40 shots he faced and improved to 9-0-1 career at the Garden as he dealt the Rangers a 3-1 defeat.
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