The Rangers snapped their two game losing streak on Monday night by surviving against the struggling Ottawa Senators. The Blueshirts were noticeably propelled by a very special night at the garden. Madison Square Garden hosted the annual Hockey Fights Cancer night which was especially meaningful to the home team because coach David Quinn sadly lost his father to cancer. A beautiful serenade of the national anthem and a special on ice gift to a pediatric cancer patient was very emotional. I would like to give a shout out to all the survivors and families of those who have and are battling the terrible disease. Once the game started, the Rangers came out popping and netted the first goal of the game. New York would continue to control most of the game and goalie Henrik Lundqvist salvaged some key defensive mistakes. Overall, this is a big victory for the Rangers to get back to their winning ways.
As stated earlier, the Blueshirts had a great start to the game. They pressured Senators netminder Craig Anderson early and often. In the first ten minutes, the both teams had a magnitude of scoring chances but New York capitalized first. Just after the midway mark, at 10:55 oc the frame, Marc Staal snapped a 92 game goal drought by receiving a marvelous pass from Mika Zibanejad and ripping one into the back of the net. A clearly energized Staal gave the crowd an unexpected celly and yelled in relief as he finally managed to tickle the twine. After the goal though, Ottawa pressured the Rangers and the ice slanted towards Lundqvist. Sens forward Colin White laid the puck onto the stick of Mark Stone who squawked a shot past the blocker of Hank only three minutes after Staal’s goal. Luckily for the Rangers, they were able to possess the puck for the rest of the period and they went into the second with the game tied.
The second period can only be described in one word—“DOINK”. There were a total of three shots that banged off the iron. Two for the Rangers and one for the Senators. The first close chance came from the stick of Brett Howden. He had a glorious opportunity from the left circle in which he ripped a shot past Craig Anderson but the puck went off the outside of the post somehow. Shortly after, Sens’ Colin White was all alone on a breakaway but his backhand hit the left post. It was a mere two or three millimeters from going in. After, Mark Stone commited a holding penalty with just under three minutes to go in the period, Mika Zibanejad seemed to have a goal but on replay it was clear that the puck stayed on the goal line after bouncing off the inside of the post. Unbelievably, the shots on goal ended up being even at nine and no goals were recorded.
The concluding period was a period filled with smiles on the Rangers bench and confusion on the face of Senators coach Guy Boucher. The Rangers had three power plays and eventually lit the lamp three times. 3:26 into the period, Lias Andersson had a fortuitous goal for his first of the season. Rangers’ Ryan Strome let a nicely placed shot go to the net which went off Andersson’s leg and into the net. Lias actually chuckled on the bench because he knew that he probably didn’t deserve his first goal of the season. Nearly five minutes later, Chris Kreider continued his hot streak by going to the front of the net and pounding home a feed from Filip Chytil. Kreider leads the team with 13 goals. He is currently on pace for 70 points which would be the most by a Blueshirt since Marian Gaborik who recorded nearly 80 points in 2012. The Senators did manage to score a late goal with the goalie pulled at the 17:17 mark of the frame, but Mika Zibanejad protected the lead by firing the puck into the empty net a minute and four seconds later. Unfortunately, Vlad Namestnikov was injured on the play and was in severe agony on the bench. He is listed as injured with an upper-body injury at this point. If he is unable to go on Thursday in Canada, the Rangers will now have three starting players out with injuries.
This game was a huge confidence boost for the Rangers and will have a chance to double down on the Sens on Thursday in Ottawa. Lundqvist will likely be in net and Mats Zuccarello is expected to return to the lineup.