|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
|OTT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
A visit from the New York Rangers could help the sputtering Ottawa Senators avoid their longest losing streak in more than a decade.
The Senators will try to snap a five-game skid while continuing their scoreless string over the Rangers at Scotiabank Place, where the teams will meet on Saturday.
New York has been shut out in each of its last two visits to Ottawa, including a 2-0 defeat on Oct. 6 as Martin Gerber stopped all 35 shots he faced. Since February 2003, the Senators have outscored the Rangers 32-12 at home en route to an 8-1-0 record.
Ottawa has won 15 of the last 18 meetings overall, including five straight.
The Senators (16-6-2) could use a visit from a team they have traditionally dominated. With a 6-5 loss to Nashville on Thursday, Ottawa matched its longest losing streak from all of last season.
A sixth consecutive defeat Saturday would saddle the Senators with their worst skid since dropping seven in a row from Feb. 22-March 9, 1996.
After rallying from at least one goal down four times against the Predators, the Senators appeared to have earned at least a point when Daniel Alfredsson tied the game with 45.5 seconds to play. But with 22.2 seconds remaining, Gerber gave up the winning goal to Martin Erat.
"We're finding ways to lose where we found ways to win before," Alfredsson said.
Since getting off to a 15-2-0 start, Ottawa has dropped six of seven and has allowed a season-high six goals twice in that span. Despite that dismal stretch, the Senators still have the most home wins (10) and points (34) in the Eastern Conference.
Jason Spezza, who had a goal and assist versus Nashville, said Ottawa needs to get back to basics.
"We don't give up six goals and we don't give up easy goals like that when we fight to come back. It's just out of our character," said Spezza, who has two goals and six assists in a six-game point streak against the Rangers. "It's back to the drawing board and find a way out of this."
Having Alfredsson continue his domination at home against New York could help. He's recorded multi-point games in five of the last eight meetings in Ottawa, totaling five goals and nine assists. Overall, Alfredsson has 10 goals and 10 assists in a season-high 10-game point streak at home.
But the Sens also need better goaltending. Gerber has given up 14 goals in the last eight periods he's played while Emery has allowed 10 goals in losing his last three starts.
The Rangers (14-9-2) hope to build off their first win of the season over their biggest rival. Chris Drury had a goal and an assist during two second-period power plays and the Rangers defeated the Islanders 4-2 on Thursday for their first win in four matchups.
Scott Gomez also scored, marking the first time the Rangers' top free-agent acquisitions scored in the same game.
"I didn't know that, but it's good," said Drury, who needs one goal for 200 in his career. "Hopefully there is more of that down the road. We're still just getting more and more comfortable every single day. In the big picture overall we're winning games."
Neither Drury nor Gomez, though, has been much of a factor in either game against Ottawa this season. Drury has yet to record a point and taken just five shots, while Gomez has one assist.
Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist has surrendered only nine goals while winning each of his last four road starts. He's 1-3-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average in four career starts at Ottawa.
|Dec 23 '07||OTT 3 at NYR 1||C. Kelly|
|Dec 01 '07||NYR 5 at OTT 2||J. Jagr|
|Oct 13 '07||OTT 3 at NYR 1||C. Phillips|
|Oct 06 '07||NYR 0 at OTT 2||A. Meszaros|