Saturday, January 18, 2014
W2W4: Rangers vs. Sens
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Rangers recently capped a four-game homestand at Madison Square Garden with a thrilling 1-0 shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. The 25-21-3 Blueshirts travel to Ottawa for the only road game in an eight-game stretch at home leading up to their Stadium Series set beginning next weekend. Though the Rangers have been road warriors this season -- they are tied for the Eastern Conference lead with 14 road wins -- they face a desperate Ottawa Sens squad that is fighting to get back into the playoff picture. The Rangers enter Saturday’s matinee in sixth place, third in the Metropolitan Division while the Sens are two points back in ninth place, fifth in the Atlantic.
Talbot in net: Though starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is on a roll after recording his third shutout of the season with Thursday night’s 38-save effort against Detroit, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is giving backup goaltender Cam Talbot the nod in net for the first game of a back-to-back set this weekend. Luckily for the Blueshirts, there has not been any dropoff in goal when Talbot has stepped in to give Lundqvist a rest. The 26-year-old Talbot has put together an impressive season of his own, posting a 9-3-0 record with a 1.66 goals against average and .938 save percentage.
Got their number: The Sens have won five straight regular-season games against the Rangers, though this is the first meeting of the two clubs this season. Winners in seven of their past 10 games, the Sens have also registered a point in each of their past eight games. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who will play with Lundqvist and Rangers forward Carl Hagelin on Sweden’s Olympic team in Sochi, Russia, next month, is on a tear of late. The former Norris Trophy winner has five points in the past two games and seven assists in the past five. Craig Anderson is expected to get the start between the pipes for Ottawa, and the Park Ridge, Illinois, native is having a tough year. He is 15-9-6 this season with a 3.16 goals against average and a .903 save percentage, though he has strong career numbers against the Rangers (7-3-0, 1.76 GAA, .944 save percentage).