After coming off one of their most notable wins of the season, the Blueshirts will begin a Canadian back-to-back set starting in Ottawa for the series finale (7:30 P.M. ET, MSG).
The Rangers are coming off a 4-1 victory against the league-leading Washington Capitals. This was the first regulation road loss the Capitals suffered since October 10th. Braden Holtby’s stretch of eleven consecutive starts without a loss in regulation came to an end too. Artemi Panarin had two goals which extended his point streak to twelve games. Pavel Buchnevich and Brett Howden each had a goal in the third period. Kaapo Kakko registered two primary assists on both Panarin goals.
“We played a really smart hockey game, and for me personally, you get even more excited play – this is the way we should play,” said Henrik Lundqvist. With a victory on Wednesday, Lundqvist tied Curtis Joseph for fifth on the all-time win list with 454 wins. Lundqvist made 30 saves in a winning effort. Lundqvist will get the start against the Senators. Alex Georgiev will play Saturday in Montreal.
“We’ve all talked about us managing our emotions and managing the ebbs and flows of a hockey game, and we did a really good job of that tonight,” said head coach David Quinn.
Tonight, the Rangers will play the Ottawa Senators for the final time this season. Each team won a meeting in rather dominant fashion. The Senators are coming off a 2-1 overtime win against Saturday’s opponents – the Montreal Canadiens. Brady Tkachuk who was a difference maker in the last meeting at Madison Square Garden, scored the game winning goal in the extra frame.
“We’re still learning and getting better,” Tkachuk said. “And we’ve improved so much since the start of the season. I definitely think we are trending in the right direction. The Senators have been victorious in four of their past five games and they haven’t lost a game on home ice since October 25th.
Also, posting a goal for the Senators against Montreal was Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau leads Ottawa in points with 17 and he has been their top goal scorer with 13 goals.
Anders Nilsson is expected to get the start for the Senators. Nilsson is 5-1-0 in his past six starts and he defeated the Blueshirts in the last meeting making 32 saves.
Mika Zibanejad practiced with a contact jersey on Thursday. Zibanejad didn’t make the trip and won’t play on this road trip. Zibanejad could return to the lineup as early as next week.
Quinn is hoping the team can build on some recently strong performances. “Now we have an opportunity here to hopefully continue this trend of playing the right way, playing with the right intentions, playing with the right purpose.”