Monday, April 16, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators
By Katie Strang
At a glance: With tensions high and the series split 1-1, the Rangers and Senators head north for Game 3 in Ottawa on Monday night. Saturday’s nasty affair set the stage for a rematch in Canada’s capital. As the series progresses, the gamesmanship and subterfuge continue with both teams keeping lineup decisions under tight wraps.
Captain comeback: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson confirmed that he suffered a concussion on Carl Hagelin’s hit that earned the 23-year-old rookie a three-game ban. However, he could play Monday. The 39-year-old veteran said he’s feeling better and will be a game-time decision.
Short one Swede: Hagelin will serve the first game of a three-game suspension as he sits out Game 3 in Ottawa. The speedy winger was hit with the harshest punishment of the playoffs thus far for his elbow on the fellow Swede. Hagelin is eligible to return for Game 6, if necessary.
Hole to fill: Rangers coach John Tortorella would not divulge whom he’ll use to fill the team’s void in the lineup while Hagelin sits. The most attractive option is top prospect Chris Kreider, who left college early to turn pro last week. The Rangers also could use hulking enforcer John Scott, who has not played since March 9. Both players are expected to take warm-ups.
Possible debut: If Tortorella elects to give Kreider a look, the Boxford, Mass., native will make his NHL debut in front of a hostile crowd at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place. Kreider joined the team after signing a three-year, entry-level deal last week but has been scratched the past two games. He recently helped lead Boston College to its second national championship in three years.
Gag order: The supplementary discipline did not end Sunday. The league announced the decision to fine Senators tough guy Zenon Konopka $2,500 Monday afternoon. According to an NHL release, Konopka was docked for verbal abuse toward a Rangers player who was doing a live television interview during Saturday’s pregame warm-ups. The Senators were also fined $10,000 for the incident.