Friday, March 8, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators
By Katie Strang
At a glance: With two points separating the clubs in the Eastern Conference standings, the eighth-place Rangers host the sixth-place Ottawa Senators in a rematch of the 2012 conference quarterfinals. The Rangers enter Friday’s match on a season-high four-game winning streak following their 2-1 overtime win against the Islanders Thursday night on Long Island. Meanwhile, the stubborn Senators are winless in their last four games, most recently a 5-4 loss to Toronto on Wednesday.
Who’s in net?: Although it appeared possible that backup netminder Martin Biron could give starter Henrik Lundqvist some rest on the tail end of a back-to-back, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner will make his sixth straight start.
Mr. Third Period: Since returning from injury on Feb. 28, Rangers winger Rick Nash has ignited the team’s offense with five goals and three assists in the past four games. Nash’s scoring surge neatly coincides with the Rangers' 4-0 record with him back in the lineup. Perhaps most impressive is the second gear Nash has been able to establish in the third period. All eight of his goals this season have been scored in the game's final frame.
Gabby on the go: Nash’s return also seems to have re-energized Marian Gaborik’s game. Gaborik has four points in the last three games, including the game-winning overtime goal against the Islanders on Thursday night. Gaborik is tied with Nash for the team lead with eight goals.
Road woes: The Senators have dropped nine of their last 10 road games and hope to change their luck at Madison Square Garden. After all, they have a pretty good track record at the Garden. The Senators have not lost a regular-season game at MSG since October 2009.
Injury report: Without Brad Richards for the past two games, the Rangers' veteran center returns against the Sens. Top defenseman Marc Staal remains out indefinitely with an eye injury.