Henrik Lundqvist took the net for the New York Rangers as they looked for a pick-me-up win over the Ottawa Senators. Fellow Swede Anders Nilsson took the net for the Senators.
Ottawa went on the power play early when Vladislav Namestnikov took an interference penalty with 18:47 left. The Rangers killed the penalty well, controlling the puck for almost half of the man advantage. The same couldn’t be said about the next penalty kill, though, as after Chris Kreider took a tripping minor the Senators struck. Brady Tkachuk fought two Rangers defenders to get the puck below the net, where Chris Tierney was waiting. Tierney quickly passed to Bobby Ryan who was wide open in front of net and put it past Hank. Just over a minute later, with 6:31 left, the Rangers let in another goal. This time, while shorthanded, Magnus Paajarvi came down the right side in a two-on-two and threw the puck in front of net. Zack Smith beat a lackadaisical Pavel Buchnevich to the puck and tipped it over Hank’s glove. Mika Zibanejad had a chance to get one back on a breakaway, but Nilsson made a beautiful glove save to keep the lead at two.
Three minutes into the period it looked certain the Senators were going to score but Henrik made a spectacular diving save with his left leg. However, the Senators collected the rebound and put it past Hank but were denied again as Brendan Lemieux came flying in to make a goal line save. Unfortunately, this sequence included two holding calls on the Rangers, putting the Senators on an elongated five-on-three. Both teams scored in the next two minutes, as Brady Tkachuk finished a rebound to put the Sens up one before Lias Andersson scored on a beautiful shorthanded breakaway to get the Rangers back to within two. After a dull stretch, the Rangers went on the powerplay with three minutes left but were unable to get another goal.
The Rangers come back was delayed due to two more penalties. Although they were both killed, the Rangers couldn’t get in a rhythm until the latter half of the third period. Just as things seemed to be going well for the Rangers, Brian Gobbins made an incredible individual play when he stole the puck from Neal Pionk in the Rangers zone, passed it to Colin White, and got it back from White before slotting it into the net. This came with 5:02 left and effectively iced the game.
The Rangers never looked right as they were dominated all night. There were multiples instances of laziness on defense, sloppy penalties, and a lack of execution on offense. As the draft looms, losing may be the best thing the Rangers can do. The Rangers remain one point ahead of the Red Wings and one point behind the Ducks for sixth to last place in the league. The Rangers are next in action at home on Friday as they take on Columbus.