Saturday, April 14, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Rangers lead the series 1-0 after a 4-2 win against the Senators Thursday night and look to take a two-game advantage heading into Ottawa next week. The top-seeded Blueshirts got goals from captain Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle and Brad Richards, and a terrific 30-save effort from Henrik Lundqvist in the opening match of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, but know Ottawa will come into tonight’s game looking to respond. Said coach John Tortorella Saturday morning: “All I know is we’re going to have to be better.”
Top trio: After struggling to generate offense against the Rangers in Game 1, the Senators are mulling whether to forge a top line with three most dangerous threats: Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. Coach Paul MacLean wouldn’t commit to starting the trio together, but said the team was “considering” it.
Get moving: MacLean was much less evasive in discussing what he’d like to see from standout defenseman Erik Karlsson. MacLean said he wanted to see the youngster skate much better than in Thursday’s game when he was held off the score-sheet in 24:23 of ice time. “When he doesn’t skate, he isn’t very good."
Big kill: The Rangers’ stingy penalty kill earned a big assist in the team’s first win of the series. Down a man, the Rangers killed off all three of Ottawa’s man-up attempts. The Senators finished the regular season with a pretty potent power-play unit that ranked 10th in the league.
On a roll: Workhorse center Brian Boyle is on a roll. The 6-6 forward has recorded six goals in the last eight games. He tallied a huge goal from the slot to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the second period Thursday. Can he keep the ball rolling in Game 2?
No help on the way: So much for Ottawa’s ace in the hole. The likelihood of the team recalling top prospect Mika Zibanejad from the AHL seems much more slim now that the former first-round pick is injured. Zibanejad is not expected to play this weekend for the AHL’s Binghamton Senators and GM Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun that the young Swede may have a concussion.
Waiting game: No lineup changes Saturday for the Rangers, which means recently-signed Chris Kreider will be scratched for the second straight game. The 20-year-old winger, who recently decided to forego his senior season with Boston College to turn pro, is still waiting to make his NHL debut.