The Ottawa Senators extended their losing streak to four games on Monday night after a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. This drops the Senators record to 9-12-3 and puts them last in the Atlantic Division.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are headed in the opposite direction. The blue shirts improved to 13-10-2 for 28 points, tied for second in the Metropolitan Division with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers currently hold a playoff position.
Overall, this game was a close matchup between the two hockey clubs. Coincidentally, shots were tied 13-13 in the first and 9-9 in the second, before New York managed to edge Ottawa by two in the third, 11-9. Unfortunately for the visiting team, this two-shot differential was the deciding two-goal difference in the final score.
Both goaltenders, Senators’ Craig Anderson and Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, made key saves at the right times to keep their respective teams close contenders. For his efforts in the win, Lundqvist was named the game’s first star with a 2.00 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
Drafted sixth overall by the Senators in 2011, Mika Zibanejad played five seasons in Canada’s capital. In July 2016, he was traded to New York for Rangers centre Derick Brassard. Since then, Zibanejad has established himself as the Rangers number one centre, and has become a core player on their competitive roster this season. Impressively, the native of Huddinge, Sweden, is projected to be in for a career year. So far, he has collected 19 points (7G, 12A) in 24 games.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Brassard and the Senators. The Gatineau native’s time in Ottawa was short when Ottawa dealt him to the Pittsburgh Penguins last season before the trade deadline in a three-way trade involving the Vegas Golden Knights. In return, Ottawa received goaltending prospect Filip Gustavsson, defenseman Ian Cole, Pittsburgh’s 2018 first-round selection, and their 2018 third-round selection.
Mika Zibanejad seems to enjoy playing against his former team. In this game, Zibanejad was awarded the game’s second star, earning one goal and one assist along with three shots, three hits, and two penalty minutes. The 25-year-old could have had two more goals as well this game, but instead struck iron behind Anderson on both attempts.
Since his trade to Manhattan, the ex-Senator has collected 5 points in 4 games against his former team.
The Senators have a serious case of road woes in 2018-19. To date, they have only managed to secure five of a possible 22 points away from Canadian Tire Centre with a record of 2-8-1. If Ottawa hopes to have any chance at a competitive campaign this year, they need to find a way to win on enemy ice.
The Sens are currently on a four-game road trip. So far, they have played three of four games, suffering defeats in Minnesota, Dallas, and New York. Disappointingly, Ottawa has earned zero of a possible six points, and another two points on the line on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau joined the team on this road trip and is practicing with his teammates. His presence is a positive sign of progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. Especially since the original timeline for his recovery was six months. A return to the Senators line-up remains distant at this time.
- In what appeared to be an interesting but short-lived experiment, Tom Pyatt started the game on the Sens first line with Matt Duchene and Drake Batherson. In 23 games this season, Pyatt has earned only one assist.
- Since arriving in Manhatten via a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Strome now has three points in his first six games as a Ranger, compared to two points in his last 18 games as an Oiler. Perhaps a change of scenery is what the Mississauga, Ontario native needed to rediscover his offensive production.
- Both Senators head coach Guy Boucher and Rangers head coach David Quinn used their coach’s challenge this game on suspected goaltender interference. Both challenges were defeated, and both goals stood as good goals.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
1) Henrik Lundqvist, New York (2.00 GAA, .935 SV%)
2) Mika Zibanejad, New York (1G, 1A)
3) Mark Stone, Ottawa (2G)
The Senators conclude their four-game road trip on Tuesday in the second of their back-to-back games with a visit to Wells Fargo Center to take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
|1||New York||1-0||10:55||Marc Staal (1)||Mike Zibanejad (13), Jesper Fast (8)|
|1||Ottawa||1-1||13:03||Mark Stone (10)||Colin White (7), Brady Tkachuk (5)|
|3||New York||2-1||3:26||Lias Andersson (1)||Ryan Strome (3)|
|3||New York||3-1||8:18||Chris Kreider (13)||Filip Chytil (4), Kevin Hayes (12)|
|3||Ottawa||2-3||17:17||Mark Stone (11)||Brady Tkachuk (6), Matt Duchene (20)|
|3||New York||4-2||18:21||Mika Zibanejad (8)|
Cover Photo Credit: AP/Bill Kostroun
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.