After taking four out of six consecutive home games, the New York Rangers are back on the road tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators at ScotiaBank Place. In their last meeting two weeks ago, the Rangers collapsed on a three-goal lead and ended up falling to the Sens in a shootout at Madison Square Garden. Tonight, taking the ice as a team with new-found confidence, the Blueshirts look to steal back two points that they should've had the last time they clashed with Ottawa.
Not only that, but the Rangers will also be looking for their fifth straight win tonight. At 7-3-3 on the season, New York currently sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, four spots ahead of this evening's opponent. The Senators are only two points behind the Rangers, however, and have won six of their last ten games.
The Rangers' recent success has been a result of the team finally being able to play the game they intended to going into the season. The defense has settled down, the offense finally has scoring coming from different angle and the goaltending has been marvelous as of late. The six-game homsestand undoubtedly gave the Rangers a prime opportunity to get things in order after spending the first few weeks of the season on the road, but now it's time to take their improved mindset and apply it in an arena other than their own.
Marian Gaborik will be a big part of that as he's been looked to as the offensive spark for quite a few games now. It seems like every night Gaborik is the player to get the offense going, along with linemate Derek Stepan. As I discussed on the blog yesterday, Stepan has found some serious chemistry while playing with Gabby and they've really started to heat up in the past two or so games.
They've had great support from the second line as well, which includes Brandon Dubinsky, Brad Richards and captain Ryan Callahan. Dubinsky has yet to obtain a tally in the goal column, but his presence has been felt defensively. Callahan and Richards, on the other hand, have done the scoring on this line, as Richie is second on the team in scoring with 10 points and Callahan is fourth with 7.
You can't forget about Artem Anisimov, either, who has 8 total points in what has been his best season to date so far. This is Artie's year to break-out of his shell and show the hockey world what he is made of. This kid has legitimate skills and it's showing.
Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh on defense will be in charge of shutting down Jason Spezza in this game, which is something that the team struggled to do in the third period last time they played the Senators. Plus, it will be tougher to get that match-up from a Rangers perspective since they are the away team tonight.
Tonight's goaltending match-up will be between Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) and Craig Anderson (OTT).
New York Rangers Lineup