Senators aiming to park Rangers' streak
Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 5:26 PM
NHL.comRANGERS (7-3-3) at SENATORS (7-7-1)
TV: TSN, RDS (HD), MSG
New York 7-2-1; Ottawa 6-3-1
Second of four meetings. The teams faced off 11 days earlier at Madison Square Garden in New York, where Milan Michalek
scored twice during the Senators' three-goal, third-period rally, then added the decisive shootout tally to key a 5-4 victory.
The fortunes of both teams have shifted since that initial matchup. Ottawa extended its winning streak to five games by beating New York and eventually ran it to six, but has gone 0-2-1 since. The Blueshirts, on the other hand, recovered from blowing that big lead to the Senators by taking the final four games of a six-game homestand. Now they begin a stretch in which they play five of six on the road.
During its current winning streak, New York has outscored its opponents 15-6 — that includes a shutout performance by backup goalie Martin Biron and a two-goal outing from Marian Gaborik in Sunday's 3-0 victory over Winnipeg. Not to be overlooked in that game was the play of second-year forward Derek Stepan, whose second-period power-play goal was all Biron was need. Stepan then set up Gaborik's insurance goal in the third and Gaborik added an empty-netter for good measure. Biron's last shutout had been Oct. 31, 2009, for the Islanders.
"I used to play it down, but not anymore," Biron said. "They're hard to come by in this league so when you have one, you have to enjoy it very much."
During its 1-5-0 start to the season, Ottawa dropped games to Colorado 7-1 and to Philadelphia 7-2. The Senators haven't been getting blown out during their slow start to November, losing three games by a combined four goals, but they still want to get back on the winning side. They took the Sabres into a shootout on Saturday and got goals from Michalek and Jason Spezza
in the first two rounds, but Buffalo answered each time and eventually defeated them 3-2 when Derek Roy beat Craig Anderson
in the sixth round.
"I thought Andy played really well," forward Nick Foligno
said. "He stopped some of their big shooters and they just seemed to be able to get that last one."
Gaborik has three goals and six assists in the last half-dozen games for the Rangers. Stepan has two goals and five assists in his last five games. Artem Anisimov has consecutive multi-assist efforts … Michalek scored his ninth goal of the season in the Senators' loss to the Sabres, which tied him for third in the league entering Tuesday's action.
In the last meeting, New York forward Wojtek Wolski delivered a hit to Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson
that left the latter with a concussion. Although he did take the pre-game skate this morning, Alfredsson miss a fifth straight game, while Wolski has since required sports hernia surgery that landed him on injured reserve.
Also on injured reserve for the Rangers are forward Mike Rupp (knee) and defenceman Marc Staal (concussion) … The Senators have defenceman Matt Carkner
(knee) and forward Peter Regin
(shoulder) on injured reserve.
Lundqvist has enjoyed tremendous recent success playing in Ottawa, winning his last six starts there and posting a 1.32 goals-against average and one shutout. Anderson, meanwhile, has great career numbers against New York: 6-2-1 with a 1.95 GAA, his second-lowest mark against any opponent.
The Rangers have won five in a row overall at Scotiabank Place, outscoring the Senators 16-6 in the process. The last time Ottawa beat New York on its home ice was on Nov. 22, 2008, when Spezza had eight shots and a power-play goal in a 4-1 victory.