Game Report: Rangers Down Sens 4-1

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(source: ERROL MCGIHON/THE OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY)

Your Ottawa Senators took on the New York Rangers last night as the Sens tried to put a kink in NY’s playoff hopes. With the Rangers coming in on a three game losing streak, Ottawa hoped their improved play as of late would add to NY’s misery. And with the Rangers in a fight for the last two playoff spots in the East, many teams were keeping an eye on the outcome of this game. But Ottawa’s fate was sealed with poor defensive play and stellar goaltending by NY, which lead to Ottawa falling 4 – 1.

The first period was pretty even as both teams skated well and had their chances. The Rangers got on the board first by some nice board work behind the net by Sean Avery to protect the puck and to get it to Vinny Prospal for a shot from the corner. The shot beat Craig Anderson short side and was surely one that Anderson would love to have back.

Heading into the second period, the Rangers blew the game wide open in a 12 second span. NY giant Mats Zuccarello found himself alone in front of the net with no Senator around and all the time in the world to put the puck in Ottawa’s open net. And before the goal could be announced, Artem Anisimov  found himself behind the Sens ‘D’ all alone for a break-a-way. He was able to pull off a slick deke on Anderson to score his 15th of the season.

Starting the third period in a three goal hole, it quickly turned into a four foal hole as another Ranger found himself alone behind the Sens ‘D’. Rookie Derek Stepan broke in on a break-a-way and roofed it on Anderson for his 18th of the year. The Sens broke Henrik Lundqvist bid for his ninth shutout of the year as Sergei Gonchar notched his seventh of the year on the powerplay. But that’s all the Sens could muster and the game ended 4 – 1 for NY.

The Positives

Ottawa’s role players had a strong game. The line of Chris Neil, Zach Smith and Nick Foligno provided energy every shift they had. Neil was all over the ice laying hits, agitating and trying to spark the team. He even created a few scoring chances too.

Sergei Gonchar  scored his first goal since January 25th. With his seventh of the year, this is Gonchar’s fifth goal (out of seven) that has been scored on the man advantage. This is why they brought him here, and hopefully he can pot a few more.

The Negatives

Where was the defense last night. Three out of the four goals happened because the player was allowed to walk in on the net untouched. Last night was unacceptable.

Craig Anderson played his seventh straight game last night and showed the first signs of being human. Allowing four goals on 27 shots, Anderson was hung out to dry by his ineffective defense in front of him. Last night’s game left many fans wondering ‘who is the real Craig Anderson?’

Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Henrik Lundqvist – made 28 saves and stymied the Sens all night long.

Second Star: Derek Stepan – had a goal and an assist to add to his great rookie campaign.

Third Star: Wojtek Wolski – had two assists as he is starting to find his way in New York.

This game was a must win for a Rangers club fighting to hold on to a playoff spot. What this game showed is that Ottawa is not ready to compete against playoff teams in the East. They may catch a few teams off guard down the stretch and give Sens Army hope, but the reality is this team is a few year’s away from being good again. ‘Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!

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