Alain Vigneault on tonight’s game…“We had some chances, and if we score early I think it’s a different game. I wasn’t crazy about trading chances against a team like that. They have a couple of really skilled lines, and obviously the defenseman that love to join the attack at every opportunity. We had as many chances as they did in the first period. They scored and then we’re trying to fight out way back. Energy wise it was a challenge for us but our guys tried hard, but we just couldn’t get it done.”
Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…“It felt like they were a little bit more on top of things in the first period. We came back strong in the second and third, but the first period cost us. I think Ottawa, when it comes to an offensive game they are one of the better teams in the League at creating big opportunities for themselves. They are very creative and they are skilled.”
Brad Richards on tonight’s game…“I think we just were half a step behind. We were a little slow doing things and they came; their D pinched hard on us at different areas of the ice. We just weren’t quite on top of it and executing, and that gave them some momentum coming the other way and [there wasn’t] enough zone time. They were opportunistic -- a couple of chances and they buried them.”
9:48PM: First Period:
- Mark Stone (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Clarke MacArthur (31), Chris Phillips (14)
- Mika Zibanejad (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Zack Smith (9)
- Mats Zuccarello (18) Tip-in - ASST: John Moore (11), Derick Brassard (26)
- Jason Spezza (20) Wrist shot - ASST: Erik Karlsson (51)
- Mats Zuccarello (19) Tip-in - ASST: Marc Staal (11), Derick Brassard (27)
- The Rangers got better as the game went on but they were not good enough tonight. They had more than enough chances, including some Grade A ones, but Robin Lehner was good and Ottawa, even with allowing a lot of shots, were able to disrupt things for the Rangers, create turnovers and hang on to win.
- It was tough to end up shorthanded at the end of the game and the referee could have/should have called the penalties even rather than giving Ottawa a PP. It was absolutely the right move to go after Neil, show toughness and defend each other and it's just unfortunate that it ended up with the Rangers shorthanded when down a goal late in the third.
- The Rangers are going to make the playoffs and it's just a matter of when they get that "check mark" as Alain Vigneault likes to say. They are 7-2-1 in the last ten so talk of backing into the playoffs isn't quite accurate. If they manage to lose out and still make the playoffs, that would be backing in, but the Rangers have been playing a strong brand of hockey lately and will get back on track on Tuesday.
- The PP once again didn't provide the needed boost for the Rangers. Rick Nash had a great chance on one PP but mostly the Rangers are still struggling to enter the zone the way they want and then set up. It only has to get hot for a little while to make a difference in the playoffs but we have seen the past few years how a struggling PP can really hurt a team in the playoffs.
Game notes from the Rangers:
- The Rangers were defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, tonight at Madison Square Garden in the first game of a three-game homestand. The Blueshirts are now 8-3-1 in their last 12 games, including a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 contests.
- The Blueshirts are now 43-31-5 overall (91 pts), including a 18-17-4 (40 pts) at home this season. New York holds a four-point lead over Philadelphia for second place in the Metropolitan Division standings.
- The Rangers outshot Ottawa, 43-31, in the contest. New York has registered at least 30 shots on goal in nine of the last 11 games, including 40 or more shots on three occasions, recording 382 shots on goal over the span (34.7 shots on goal per game). The Rangers have outshot their opponents in 16 of their last 23 games.
- The Blueshirts won 34 of 61 faceoffs in the game (56%). Four of five Rangers who took a faceoff in the contest won at least 50% of their draws. Brad Richards led all skaters with 12 faceoff wins.
- The Rangers’ penalty kill was 1-1 (2:00) in the contest. New York hasn’t allowed a power play goal in each of their last four games (11 times shorthanded), and is 43-46 (93.5%) with seven shorthanded goals in the last 17 games.
- The Blueshirts were credited with 18 hits in the game, as four Rangers registered at least three hits in the contest. Brian Boyle and Mats Zuccarello tied for the game-high with four hits apiece.
- Mats Zuccarello scored two goals, recorded three shots on goal, and tied for the game-high with four hits in 15:10 of ice time. The contest was Zuccarello’s fifth career multi-goal game – third this season – and his 14th multi-point game this season. Zuccarello extended his point streak to four games (four goals, three assists over the span), and has tallied 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in his last 22 games. Since Oct. 26, the Rangers forward has registered a point in 40 of 67 games, recording 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) over the span. Zuccarello leads the team in points (57) and ranks second in goals (19) this season. He is also nine points shy of his 100th career NHL point.
- Benoit Pouliot tallied the primary assist on Mats Zuccarello’s first goal, recorded two shots on goal, and was credited with three hits in 14:18 of ice time. Pouliot extended his point streak to five games, tallying five points (one goal, four assists) over the span. The Rangers forward has also recorded a point in six of his last seven games, registering seven points (one goal, six assists) over the span.
- Derick Brassard tallied an assist in 14:58 of ice time while skating in his 400th career NHL game. The Rangers forward has recorded a point in six of the last 10 games, registering eight points (five goals, three assists) over the span. Brassard ranks fourth on the team in points (44) and fifth on the team in assists (26) this season.
- John Moore recorded an assist, posted a plus-one rating, and recorded four shots on goal in 21:33 of ice time. Moore has registered a point in each of the two games he has played since he returned to the lineup (one goal, one assist), and has tallied five points (two goals, three assists), along with a plus-six rating in his last 10 games.
- Marc Staal registered the primary assist on Mats Zuccarello’s second goal and recorded four shots on goal in 23:06 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman has tallied two assists in his last four games. Staal is tied for third among Rangers defensemen in assists (11) and ranks fourth among defensemen in points (14) this season.
- Dominic Moore registered one shot on goal, was credited with one takeaway, and won six of eight faceoffs (75%) while skating in his 600th career NHL game. Moore has won 225 of 393 faceoffs he has taken in his last 46 games (57.3%).
- Dan Girardi was credited with a game-high, four blocked shots and two hits while leading all Rangers with 26:11 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman leads the team in hits (189) and blocked shots (171) this season.
- Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in the contest. The Rangers goaltender is now 31-24-5 this season, including a 14-14-3 record at home. Lundqvist made at least 30 saves for the 19th time this season, including the third consecutive game, and is 13-4-2 with a 2.14 GAA, a .940 Sv%, and 2 SO when making at least 30 saves in a game this season.