Senators' late goals end Rangers' point streak
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Chris Campoli’s goal with 1:14 to go in the third period snapped a scoreless tie and lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 2-0 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers, whose seven-game points streak was ended by the Senators, have now gone more than six periods without scoring a goal, but they are 8-2-4 in their last 14 games.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
turned in another stellar performance for the Blueshirts. He stopped the first 32 shots he faced, following a 45-save outing on Tuesday vs. the Devils, before Campoli rifled a 10-foot shot past his stick side for the game-winning goal.
“I really don’t care how I play, it’s just frustrating not to win,” said Lundqvist. “It’s very disappointing to come up short again in a tight game.”
Chris Kelly scored into the empty net for Ottawa with 10.7 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.
“That team wanted to play harder than we did tonight” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “They deserved what they got. We deserved what we got. They simply worked harder.”
Rookie goaltender Mike Brodeur, called up prior to the game after Ottawa’s No. 1 goalie, Pascal Leclaire, was injured in the morning skate, recorded his first NHL shutout, finishing with 32 saves.
The win snapped Ottawa’s five-game losing streak and came on the heels of the Senators’ 6-1 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Though similar on the scoreboard to their 1-0 loss to the Devils in the shootout two days ago, the Rangers did not exhibit the same sort of play they showcased against New Jersey on Tuesday. As a result, they have now gone a total of 144:23 worth of game action without scoring a goal.
“This shouldn’t happen,” said Rangers alternate captain Vinny Prospal
. “We should know they’re on a losing streak, they don’t have a starting goalie. We have to be ready, and we weren’t.”
Tortorella was so dismayed with his team’s start to the game that he used his timeout just 4:46 from the first drop of the puck. At that point, the Rangers had been outshot 7-1 and had not been scored upon only because of Lundqvist’s brilliant play in goal.
“I just don’t understand it,” Tortorella said of his team’s rough start. “It’s a team we’re fighting against for a playoff spot. We knew they were embarrassed the night before. We tried to guard against it, but I guess they weren’t listening.”
Things got somewhat better for the Blueshirts as the first period progressed. However, even though the Rangers recorded nine of the final 17 shots in the period, nearly all of the best scoring chances belonged to the Senators.
In fact, the Rangers’ best scoring chance came in the final minute of the opening period when Chris Drury
intercepted a pass deep in the offensive zone, spun towards the net, and wristed a shot from left wing. Tested for the first time all night, Brodeur was positioned perfectly to swallow up Drury’s shot with his chest.
Even though they were struggling in the games leading up to Thursday, the Senators were able to dictate the play in the opening period. Ottawa worked extremely hard and was very successful on the forecheck, winning battle after battle for the puck.
Lundqvist, though, was there for his team. Within the first two minutes of the game, he had stoned Campoli on a difficult screened shot and Zack Smith, who had danced through the Rangers’ defense before firing a point-blank shot on goal. Two minutes later, an alert Lundqvist hugged the left post to stop a pair of shots by Alex Kovalev after he was left all alone to pick a carom off the glass and quickly jam two shots on goal.
The second period started with more of the same. Lundqvist made several big saves, and the Rangers struggled to put any shots on net. More than halfway through the second the Rangers had managed only one shot against Brodeur, a Marian Gaborik
breakaway at the six-minute mark that was sabotaged, in part, by a rolling puck.
“We didn’t have a good start at all, they were always a step ahead of us,” said Gaborik. “We have to be more consistent, create more offense, and start scoring more goals.”
Lundqvist kept the game scoreless with a phenomenal glove save on Kelly’s wicked rising snap shot off a 2-on-1 rush at 10:26. And at 11:40, he alertly took away the lower part of the net to deny Kovalev, who won a race with Dan Girardi
to a loose puck, and followed with a spinning shot on goal.
The Rangers finally mounted extensive offensive pressure late in the second period. Granted their first power play of the game when Matt Carkner was whistled for boarding Sean Avery
, the Rangers had several good scoring chances thwarted by Brodeur.
Tortorella changed up his power play units, replacing Ryan Callahan
on the top unit with Brandon Dubinsky
, and using Callahan, Artem Anisimov
, and Erik Christensen
up front on the second unit. Good puck movement and better scoring chances followed, but the Rangers were unable to score and the game remained deadlocked 0-0.
A second unsuccessful power play 39 seconds into the third period -- after Drury drew a penalty by driving hard to the net -- also kept the game scoreless. It remained that way until Campoli took advantage of loose play by the Rangers in front of their own net after a slick pass by Kovalev, the former Ranger.
“When you don’t score, one bad play or mistake costs you the game,” said Lundqvist. “It’s frustrating for everybody.”
The Rangers will look to break through on the scoreboard as they hit the road to skate against the Blues in St. Louis for their next game on Saturday night.
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