Series (Game 3 of 4)

Ottawa leads 4-0

Game 1: Monday, January 6th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 5th
Game 3: Monday, February 17th
Game 4: Thursday, March 13th

Rangers 2

(23-30-2, 55 pts)

Senators 3

(37-15-1, 82 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 17, 2003

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 0 12
OTT 1 2 03

D. Alfredsson (Senators - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

K. Rachunek (Senators - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

A. Kovalev (Rangers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Captain Alfredsson has three assists for Senators

OTTAWA (AP) -- Daniel Alfredsson drove the Ottawa Senators' potent offense to victory -- again.


Ottawa's Radek Bonk, left, gets tangled up with New York's Pavel Bure.

Alfredsson, Ottawa's captain and leading scorer, assisted on goals by Radek Bonk, Mike Fisher and Martin Havlat as the Senators beat New York 3-2 Monday night to spoil Pavel Bure's return to the Rangers' lineup.

Alfredsson, who has 62 points -- including 40 assists -- set up Bonk's goal in the first period before assisting on second-period goals by Fisher and Havlat.

''He's played excellent for us all year,'' Fisher said. ''He's been there for us offensively. It was another great game for him to lead the way.''

Ottawa, which scored on both of its power-play opportunities, improved to 5-1-1 in its past seven games.

The goals by Bonk and Havlat came on the power play. Of the Senators' 191 goals this season, 65 have come with the man advantage.

With New York trailing 3-1, Bure assisted on Alexei Kovalev's 30th goal -- a power-play score -- with 12:32 left in the third.

Eric Lindros also scored for the Rangers, who lost their second consecutive despite getting Bure back in the lineup for the first time in just more than two months.

''They played pretty strong in the third, and we took it to them in the second,'' Fisher said. ''They've got so much talent, but we play a team game and that's how we beat teams.''

Bure, who missed 31 games, had arthroscopic surgery on both knees Dec. 16.

The league's leading goal scorer in 2000 and 2001, Bure had torn cartilage in his left knee repaired 10 days after injuring his left knee in the Rangers' defeat against Buffalo. He also had exploratory surgery on his right knee at the same time.

''I felt not bad,'' said Bure, who had a game-high seven shots -- including six in the second period. ''I had a couple of chances but I didn't score.''

New York, 11th in the Eastern Conference with 55 points, got defenseman Brian Leetch -- who also assisted on Kovalev's goal -- back Friday night after he missed 31 games because of a severely bruised ankle.

Bonk opened the scoring with his 15th goal 3:36 in. Bonk jumped on a loose puck that was sitting in the crease and put it into a wide-open net after Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn stopped Alfredsson's shot from the slot.

Lindros responded to criticism by coach-general manager Glen Sather, that followed the Rangers' defeat at Buffalo on Saturday, by drawing New York even. He fired a slap shot past Patrick Lalime at 4:33.

''That's in the past,'' Lindros said. ''We're just going to get focused for Minnesota and try and get on a little bit of a roll here. We certainly need to start having some fun.''

Sather was much happier with Lindros' effort. Lindros moved off right wing to his more natural center position for the first time since Dec. 3 and scored just his third goal in 15 games.

''Eric played a great game,'' Sather said.

Fisher restored Ottawa's one-goal lead 3:42 into the second when he burst down the right side and wristed a shot over Blackburn's left shoulder for his 13th goal.

''I had some good speed and I just found the hole,'' Fisher said.

The Senators made it 3-1 with their second power-play goal of the game at 16:28 when Havlat's pass from the right side deflected off New York defenseman Tom Poti and past Blackburn into the net.

With Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden in the penalty box, Kovalev got the Rangers back in the game when he wired a shot from the point past Lalime 7:28 into the third.

Senators defenseman Chris Phillips was sent off for hooking at 9:27, but New York failed to convert its second consecutive power-play opportunity.

''That was huge,'' Redden said. ''We don't want to give them too much time. They do a good job moving the puck around and I thought we did a good job on that second power play. We went right at them.''

Game notes

Bure has 22 points -- including 14 goals -- in 28 games. ... Senators All-Star defenseman Zdeno Chara missed the game because of a chest injury. Defenseman Brian Pothier, recalled from Binghamton of the AHL earlier in the day, replaced Chara, who is day-to-day.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press