By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
Two days after scoring five goals in an impressive 5-2 victory in Philadelphia, the Rangers could not manage a single score Thursday night in Ottawa, falling to the Senators 3-0 at Scotiabank Place. Having split the first two games of their three-game road trip, the Rangers next skate against the Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday night.
Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop made 24 saves to earn his second career shutout, and first this season, as the Senators completed a sweep of their three-game season series with the Rangers. Not tested much until the final period, Bishop sparkled diving across the crease to rob Ryan McDonagh at 10:45 of the third period, just moments after shrugging off a Michael Del Zotto blast off the rush. With five minutes remaining he denied Marian Gaborik who had split the Ottawa defense and fired from 15 feet out.
Henrik Lundqvist did his part for the Rangers, despite the losing result. Making his season-high ninth straight start, Lundqvist stopped 26 shots..
Ottawa carried a 1-0 lead into the final period, and doubled their advantage with a back-breaking goal by Guillaume Latendresse with 7:44 remaining in the game. Rookie Mika Zibanejad earned the primary assist on Latendresse's fifth goal of the season, his second helper of the night. Colin Greening added an empty-netter with 2:02 remaining to put the game on ice.
Despite managing very few prime scoring chances of their own, the Rangers nearly made it to the second intermission even on the scoreboard, riding the setllar goaltending of Lundqvist. But Andre Benoit's power play goal with 48.8 seconds remaining in the second period put the visitors in a 1-0 hole instead.
Anton Stralman was penalized for tripping Mike Hoffman after the rookie skated past him and bore down on Lundqvist at 17:48, and the Sens proceeded to keep the puck in the Rangers zone the entire power play until Benoit took a soft pass from Mika Zibanejad and fired a shot through traffic and into the back of the net for his second goal of the season. Ottawa benefitted from Ryan Callahan playing most of the penalty kill without a stick after it broke when he blocked a shot earlier in the penalty kill.
Lundqvist had stopped the first 20 shots he faced, including breakaways, odd-man rushes, and wild scrambles in his crease as the Senators had the better of the scoring chances in a tightly-played first 40 minutes. Just 45 seconds into the game Lundqvist denied Hoffman point-blank from the low slot, and at 15:40 he flashed out his glove to snare Eric Gryba's wide-open chance from right wing.
In the second period Lundqvist absolutely robbed Erik Condra's 2-on-1 attempt from down low at 10:58, and then caught a break when Jim O'Brien swung and missed twice at the rebound laying close to the goal line. Earlier Lundqvist charged 50 feet out of his net to poke the puck away from O'Brien after the Sens forward burst past everyone to chase a long pass up ice. The two collided, and Roman Hamrlik swept the loose puck away.
Steve Eminger also came through for his goalie five minutes into the second period when he dove on the ice to break up a 2-on-1 in front of the Rangers net after a J.T. Miller defensive zone giveaway.
At the other end of the ice Bishop faced only four shots in the first period---including an open attempt by Kris Newbury from the slot---and ten in the second. His best save came 15 seconds into that middle stanza when Carl Hagelin flew in on left wing after stealing the puck at the blueline, and blasted a shot from the left circle which was gloved down by the 6-foot-7 Ottawa netminder.
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