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Rangers fall flat defensively

1/25/2004

OTTAWA (AP) -- Even on Jaromir Jagr's best night, he couldn't
supply as much offense as the New York Rangers needed.

Bryan Smolinski scored twice in the first period and Daniel
Alfredsson had a goal and two assists as the Ottawa Senators ruined
Jagr's debut with the Rangers by routing New York 9-1 Saturday
night.

"It wasn't the start I was looking for, that's for sure," said
Jagr, acquired from Washington in a long-rumored deal completed
Friday.

As has been New York's problem throughout the season, its
defense and goaltending faltered. Jussi Markkanen allowed six goals
in the first and third periods and Jason LaBarbera, recalled Friday
from the AHL, yielded three in the second as the Rangers' losing
streak hit four games and their winless streak was stretched to six
(0-4-2).

"That was awful," Rangers center Eric Lindros said. "We were
outskated, we didn't think -- we were awful."

Jagr made his first two appearances with the Rangers on the
power play as Ottawa drew a pair of penalties within the first
4:44.

He threw his linemates offside on his first two offensive
rushes, and it was all downhill from there for the Rangers.

"It's not nice to lose 9-1 in your first game, but hopefully
the worst is behind me and this team, and we somehow learn from
this loss and turn things around," Jagr said.

Zdeno Chara also scored twice, and Jason Spezza, Radek Bonk,
Josh Langfeld and Martin Havlat added goals as Ottawa set a season
high in a game and extended its winning streak to three.

"I think with the high profile trade they made last night, they
put some fear into us," Smolinski said. "We knew that they were
going to come out and play hard. I think we just played our
positions, and maybe we took the wind out of their sails a little
bit. We didn't do anything special but obviously they'll be a
different team the next time we see them."

New York's regular goalie Mike Dunham missed the Rangers' worst
loss since a 10-2 defeat at Quebec on March 6, 1993, because of a
concussion sustained Thursday against Philadelphia.

"Describe it? I don't think it's possible," Rangers coach and
general manager Glen Sather said. "It's one of the worst beatings
I've taken in my career. It seemed like everyone stood around and
was waiting for Jagr to win it for us."

Rangers center Bobby Holik disagreed.

"That's Glen's opinion -- I didn't feel that way," Holik said.
"Even if Jaromir did magic, it still wouldn't be enough tonight.
It's a team game and every one of us has to do what we're here
for."

The Senators, 6-5 winners over Pittsburgh on Thursday, have
scored 15 goals in two games and are 14-2-4 in their last 20.

New York trailed 7-0 when Matthew Barnaby ruined Patrick
Lalime's shutout bid 4:45 into the third.

Markkanen stopped just nine of 13 shots in the first, LaBarbera
allowed three goals on six shots in the second, and Markkanen
returned for the third and gave up two goals on 10 shots.

Spezza scored on a breakaway 6:15 in after he intercepted Martin
Rucinsky's centering pass. Spezza then assisted on Smolinski's
score at 10:06.

Chara made it 3-0 with a slap shot past Markkanen for a
power-play goal at 13:27, and Smolinski scored Ottawa's second
straight with the man advantage at 17:25 for his second goal of the
period, and 13th of the season.

LaBarbera, making his second appearance of the season and third
overall in the NHL, fared no better than Markkanen.

Alfredsson made it 5-0 with his 21st goal 3:31 into the period,
and Bonk gave Ottawa its second straight six-goal game with his
11th at 4:18.

Langfeld, who assisted on Bonk's goal, scored for the second
straight game at 11:05.

Markkanen gave up Chara's second goal with 5:52 left and Martin
Havlat's power-play goal with 51.2 seconds remaining.

Game notes
Of the 32 players in NHL history to record at least 500
goals and 1,000 assists, Jagr is the 10th to play at least part of
his career with the Rangers. He joined Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier,
Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Jari Kurri, Guy Lafleur, Luc
Robitaille, Mike Gartner and Pat Verbeek. ... Rangers C Eric
Lindros returned after missing Thursday's game because of the flu.
D Tom Poti also returned after back spasms caused him to miss two
games. ... Senators D Chris Phillips was on the ice for five of
Ottawa's goals, including three in the first. ... The Senators are
unbeaten in 12 home games (10-0-2). ... Ottawa has scored at least
six goals seven times this season, including a 7-1 win in Toronto
on Jan. 8.