Rangers look to end losing streak vs. Senators
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NEW YORK -- For most of this month, the New York Rangers piled up points and emerged as an early surprise of the season.
Then came the last 120 minutes and the Rangers encountered their first impediment to their recent progress with consecutive afternoon losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
The Rangers hope to shake off their first losing streak in a month Monday night when they host the Ottawa Senators, who are the only team to allow 100 goals this season.
New York is on its first losing streak since late October. Starting with a 4-3 shootout win in San Jose on Oct. 30, the Rangers reeled off a 9-1-1 run to get over .500.
The run culminated in a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday and also featured five wins by one goal. Since the rout of the Islanders, the Rangers absorbed a 4-0 rout in Philadelphia on Friday followed by a 5-3 loss to the Capitals Saturday afternoon.
While the Rangers struggled immensely with containing odd-man rushes Friday, they were doomed by a bad second period Saturday, specifically the final 9:50 of the period. After taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei, the Rangers allowed three goals and then gave up the go-ahead goal in the third after Ryan Strome tied the game.
"I thought today felt different than Friday," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "I thought we didn't play well for any stretch (Friday). I thought we had a pretty good first and a pretty good third (Saturday). I thought the second was what really what bothered me because the second looked a lot like 60 minutes of (Friday's) play."
Kevin Hayes recorded two assists, giving him 11 points in the last 10 games. Left off the scoresheet was Chris Kreider, who took six shots on goal and during the 11-game run totaled eight goals and 13 points.
Alexandar Georgiev started for the second time in three games Saturday but Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start Monday.
Also expected back is Mats Zuccarello, who sat for the seventh time in nine games due to a groin injury. Zuccarello played 15 minutes Friday, but the Rangers opted to sit him in the second part of a back-to-back.
Ottawa allowed its 100th goal when it allowed three goals in the second period of a 6-4 loss at Dallas on Friday night. The Senators enter on a three-game losing streak that has seen them allow 19 goals, to negate an offense that has produced 13.
The Senators allowed a season-high 54 shots on goal Friday and it was the third time they allowed at least 50 shots. Ottawa is the only team to allow 50 shots three times this season, so not surprising coach Guy Boucher spent extensive time discussing the defensive struggles.
"Individually you've got make the right decisions and you've got to better with your one-on-one battles," Boucher told reporters. "That's it. The minute we get excited and want to score right away, we have a tendency to open up, and when you play against good players, they'll give it to you."
A trend in the three-game skid is falling behind early. Last Monday in a 7-5 loss to Florida and a 6-4 loss at Minnesota Wednesday, the Senators faced 4-1 deficits and Friday they trailed 5-2.
"We can score," Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson told reporters. "We've got some skill and we've got guys that have talent and have abilities to make plays. That's one thing that we've had all year and that's exciting. It's exciting to be a part of it and it's the just the other part that we need a little bit of work on."
Ottawa's 83 goals are the fourth-most in the league and Mark Stone has nine of them, but he will likely play with a protective shield for his face on Monday. Stone was hit in the face by a puck and left Friday's game in the third period but practiced while wearing the face shield Sunday.
The Senators took two of three meetings from the Rangers last season and the home team has won seven of the last nine games.
Updated November 25, 2018