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Rangers Head Into Ottawa Looking For Five Straight Wins

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
TV: MSG Network 7:30 PM Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com

RANGERS 7-3-3 (17 pts)SENATORS 7-7-1 (15 pts)

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The streak should be six games, but hindsight is always 20-20.

Back on October 29, with a three-goal deficit in the third, the Ottawa Senators stormed back to tie the game – or the Rangers squandered a lead depending on your viewpoint  - and eventually won in the shootout 5-4. Coupled with the loss two days prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the MSG home opener, things looked rather bleak for the New York Rangers.

Instead of letting their deficiencies stick in their craw, the Rangers overcame them and reeled off four-straight wins and, in the process, have found their game while competing for 60 minutes in each win. Finishing their six-game home stand 4-1-1, the club has also changed the perception of just how “slow” of a start they were off to. If I had told you before the season started that after 13 games the Rangers, after their hellish Euro trip, would be 7-3-3 and 6th in the East, you would sign up for that in a heartbeat. The beat goes on in Ottawa tonight.

Join me after the jump for the full pre-game report. 

While the Rangers will be focused on playing a complete game, it sounds like the Ottawa Senators are still bitter about the hit that has sidelined their captain since October 29th. Rangers beat writer Andrew Gross recently spoke to Zenon Konopka, penalized and ejected for his boarding penalty on Artem Anisimov in the same game:

“Sure there is,” Konopka said when asked if there would be bad blood tonight. “We lost our captain. I look right across (in the Senators’ dressing room) and see him gone. It was a big blow to our lineup. I look at that and it (ticks) me off. I thought (Wolski’s) hit was worse than mine. In my mind, mine was a hockey play but everybody has their own interpretations.”

How does Alfredsson feel about the matter? He wasn’t as upset as Konopka:

“No, not really,” when I asked whether he was upset with Wolski or the hit. “It could have been avoided, maybe. I don’t think his intentions was to just hit me. I’m not upset.”

If the Ottawa Senators are only interested in exacting revenge for losing Alfredsson, it will make this contest that much easier for the Rangers, who will be interested in seeing the final score in their favor more than anything.

Injuries: F Wojtek Wolski (sports hernia), C Mike Rupp (knee), D Marc Staal (concussion), D Anton Stralman (healthy) are all out for tonight’s game.

Probable Lines:

Anisimov-Stepan-Gaborik
Dubinsky-Richards-Callahan
Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust
Deveaux-Christensen-Avery

McDonagh-Girardi
Del Zotto-Sauer
Eminger-Woywitka

KEYS TO VICTORY:

  • NO LESS THAN 60: As evidenced by their last meeting, do not sleep on the Senators late in the game. At the time, they were the best 3rd period team in the NHL. If the Rangers are up with 20 minutes to go, the foot should not let up from the gas pedal.
  • RIDE HIM WHILE HE’S HOT: Marian Gaborik is scoring while being arguably the best, most consistent forward thus far. He’s using his legs, driving to the net, and getting his patented wrister on net. 2 goals last game out playing with Derek Stepan, who’s impressing of late. If he’s open, let the Slovakian sniper work his magic.
  • CONTINUE THE DISCIPLINE: It’s no secret the Rangers have improved partially due to taking fewer penalties. A questionable penalty by Wojtek Wolski on Daniel Alfredsson gave the Senators life in their last encounter. Staying away from bad penalties against the 3rd best power play (13-51 25.5%) in the NHL is usually a good idea.

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Topics: Anton Stralman, Daniel Alfredsson, Marc Staal, Marian Gaborik, Mike Rupp, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Wojtek Wolski, Zenon Konopka

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