The Rangers came into this game on a 5-1-1 streak, riding their hot play into a four point swing game in Ottawa. Much like they did against Detroit, the Rangers dominated defensively and offensively, putting the Sens away by a score of 4-1. Derek Stepan came alive in this game, notching a goal and two assists. The goal was his first in 14 games. Stepan was really the last Ranger that needed to get it going, and hopefully yesterday was the boost he needed.
Cam Talbot played a great game as usual, stopping 29 of 30 shots for the win. Sam and Joe mentioned this on the broadcast, but the Rangers have done a great job of stifling the opposition’s top lines (thank you Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh), and capitalizing with their own offensive chances. This 6-1-1 streak, including key wins over Ottawa, Detroit, and Philly, have vaulted the Rangers into a comfortable playoff position at this point in the season.
On to the goals:
Sens 1, Rangers 0
Benoit Pouliot coughed the puck up down low to Milan Michalek, who got the puck out to the point to Cody Ceci with Derick Brassard up high. Once the turnover happens, the Rangers forwards were way out of position Brass naturally can’t cover the shot and the pass over to Marc Methot –who creeped over to the top of the far circle– so he covered the shot. Ceci got the puck over to Methot while Cory Conacher provided the screen in front.
Rangers 1, Sens 1
With the Rangers on a 5 on 3, after some questionable decisions to not give the puck to the Sens right away on a delayed call, the powerplay unit put on some good pressure. McDonagh eventually got the puck down low to Stepan. Ryan Callahan was in front setting a pick on Michalek, allowing Stepan to thread the needle through the crease to Brad Richards. Craig Anderson didn’t stand a chance.
Rangers 2, Sens 1
Stepan forced Conacher into a turnover in the high risk area Suit outlined a month ago and flipped the puck over Chris Phillips at the point, springing Rick Nash for a semi-break. Nash beat Anderson with one of the quickest releases I’ve ever seen, picking the top corner in the process.
Rangers 3, Sens 1
Erik Karlsson made a blind backhand pass behind his own net that went to no one. Stepan one-timed the loose puck to the far post and past Anderson for the goal. It was a bit of a weak goal that Anderson wants back, but Karlsson’s pass was real bad.
Rangers 4, Sens 1
Phillips made an ill-advised blind backhand pass to Jason Spezza at the blue line that Zuccarello intercepted easily. Zucc beat Anderson on the ensuing breakaway to ice it.
The Rangers just dominated this game from about five minutes in to the end of the game. The first Ottawa flat line is the first powerplay for the Rangers, but the second and third were at even strength. The Sens didn’t begin gaining ground on shot attempts until the third, when the Rangers were more or less protecting their two goal lead. The Sens were also pressing very hard in the third, with their defense starting to join the rush and pinch in the offensive zone. The combination of the two led to the Sens eventually catching up in raw Fenwick, but the Rangers dominated where it counted.
The Rangers don’t get a break, with Washington coming to town tomorrow for a Sunday nightcap. But for now, the Rangers will head back to New York on a 10-3-1 streak that has made them one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They are getting the goaltending. They are getting the scoring. And now they are getting the wins.