The Ottawa Senators can deal the Rangers’ playoff chances a big blow with a win over the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season.
7:30 PM @ SCOTIABANK PLACE
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TEAM1200
HEAD TO HEAD
Ottawa has won both meetings so far this season, both by 3-2 scores. The first meeting came down to the shootout, and recently waived Kaspars Daugavins scored the winner. The second meeting saw Jakob Silfverberg score the go-ahead goal with just under 5 minutes left in the third to take the regulation win. This will be the last meeting of the regular season.
Ottawa has had an extra day of rest, as their last game was Monday night at home, where they beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in shootout. Silfverberg had the winner, and Daniel Alfredsson scored his first SO goal of the season after failing on his first 3 attempts. New York is also coming in off a win, 5-2 over the Flyers. Derek Stepan had a goal and 3 assists and Rick Nash had 2 goals and an assist to lead the Rangers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marian Gaborik, NYR – With one more year on a deal that pays him $7.5M, the Rangers need to get more from Gaborik than they have received so far this season. Just 19 points in 32 games with a -10 rating simply isn’t enough. His play has dropped off so far in the Big Apple that he has been the subject of trade rumours.
Mike Hoffman, OTT – A broken collar-bone that kept him out for almost 8 weeks is the only thing that stood in the way of Hoffman being called up earlier. The premier offensive threat in Binghamton will suit up for his second career NHL game, and will likely skate alongside Kyle Turris and Alfredsson in the first line.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Bishop Back-2-Back – After a solid outing on Monday, Ben Bishop will be back in the pipes, but has the shadow of Craig Anderson lurking. Anderson could be ready to go as early as Saturday against Toronto.
2. Chasing May – The Rangers are in a desperate battle to make the playoffs, while the Sentors are comfortably placed. However, the shadow of a season-high 7 game road trip is in the near future for the Sens, so the need to put these points in the bank, just to make sure. The points are more important to the Rangers, so we could see a deep sense of urgency from both sides.
3. Daugavins Letdown – How will the Senators react to losing a player from the organization for the first time this season. Daugavins was very popular in the dressing room and his attitude and demeanor will be missed. His loss is the first permanent departure from an in&out roster this season. The rest of the changes have been as a result of injury or demotion, but the players are still in the system.
Surrounding the game, it will be the Annual Telethon for Roger’s House, where donations can be called in to support a very worthy cause. I would urge everyone to donate whatever they can to the cause.