April 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson (not pictured) scores a goal on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the second period in game seven of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Game #18 Preview - New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators

This game marks the first meeting between the Senators and the team that eliminated them from the playoffs in 7 games last April.

8-6-1, T-8th Eastern Conference

VS

9-6-2, T5th Eastern Conference

7:30 PM

TV: Rogers Sportsnet   RADIO: TEAM1200

HEAD TO HEAD

After going 3-0-1 against the Rangers last season, the two played an intense 7 game series, that could have gone either way.  Game 7 was a 2-1 New York victory thereby ending the Senators’ season.

LAST GAMES

Ottawa scored more than 2 goals for the first time in 7 games as they beat the Islanders 3-1 on Tuesday night.  At the same time, New York was dropping a game to the Canadiens by the same 3-1 score at Madison Square Garden.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Carl Hagelin, NYR – Probably best known to Senators fans as the man who knocked Daniel Alfredsson out of the playoffs last season causing him to miss three games with a concussion, Hagelin has become the go-to guy lately for the Rangers.  Hagelin has 8 points in his last 5 games, including points on 4 of the Rangers’ last 6 goals.He had been moved onto a line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash, but Nash will not play after missing Tuesday’s game with an unknown injury.

Kyle Turris, OTT – With only 2 points in his last 6 games, Turris needs to step up and contribute offensively as a top line centre.  He didn’t produce when taken away from the tougher matchups in a first line role, but Turris is best suited to play on the top line for this team, and must be more assertive to create offense an not rely on Alfredsson to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders.

TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR TONIGHT’S GAME

  1. Revenge? – I don’t come from the school of thought that if Ottawa wins this game they will be getting any type of revenge for the playoff loss last spring.  What’s done is done and winning this game won’t change that for the Senators or the Rangers.  However, the Senators need to win this game for their playoff chances this season, and the Rangers are in the way.
  2. Beware the Nash Factor – Nash was left home as the Rangers left on the road trip after Tuesday’s game.  He is the Rangers’ leading point-getter and the Rangers looked lost without him against Montreal.  However, with Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Hagelin in the mix, they are not to be taken lightly.
  3. Anderson vs Lundqvist – Despite having stellar numbers against Ottawa, (2.05 GAA, .931 SP), Henrik Lundqvist is one game below .500 against Ottawa in his career (11-12-2).  Craig Anderson has owned the Rangers over his career, with a 7-3-1 record along with a 1.87 GAA, .941 SP and two shutouts.  So obviously you should be on the over!

 

PARTING SHOT

The assignment once again will fall on Zack Smith to be the shutdown centre, most likely against Richards.  If he along with his linemates and the defensive pairing of Marc Methot and Eric Gryba can duplicate the job they did against John Tavares on Tuesday, the Senators stand a good chance of downing the Rangers.

Tags: Carl Hagelin Craig Anderson Game Preview Henrik Lundqvist Kyle Turris New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Rick Nash Zack Smith

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