The New York Rangers continued their strong play once again this afternoon, and defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-1 at the Canadian Tire Centre. With that win the Rangers now officially take over second place in the Metropolitan Division, but still have two more games played than everyone else below them. Either way though, the Rangers are finally rolling as a well oiled unit, and it was put on full display once again. Cam Talbot also had yet another strong game between the pipes, and stood tall as he faced 16 total shots in a late surge by the Senators.
Even though the end result was in their favor, the Rangers didn't have the greatest of starts to this game, and the Senators took full advantage. Benoit Pouliot lost the puck deep in the defensive zone, and allowed the Senators to keep the puck in the zone after a long shift. Pouliot wound up losing his man after the turnover and it caused a whole bunch of confusion in the high slot. No one was able to shift over to cover Mark Methot, and he bombed a shot from the point that found it's way over Cam Talbot's glove. Mats Zuccarello also didn't help out either as he crossed by Talbot as the shot was coming through, and created a bit of a screen.
Following the goal though, the Rangers shifted it into high gear and were able to generate a 15-3 shot advantage in the second half of the first. They also received a 4-on-3 power play at the midway mark as a slew of penalties from Derek Stepan, Clarke MacArthur, and Erik Condra. The Rangers lethal power play wound up making the Senators pay as Derek Stepan found Brad Richards wide open on the backdoor.
All Richards really had to do was tap the puck once it was fed over to him, and he did just that by flipping it over the sprawling Craig Anderson. The Rangers continued to pressure the Senators for the rest of the first period, which set up for a great opportunity in the second frame. The Rangers wound up giving the Senators very little room to work with in the second period, and they were rewarded with two straight goals coming from Rick Nash, and Derek Stepan.
The first goal was pure brilliance from Stepan as he found Nash breaking up the ice, and fed him with a beautiful bank pass off of the boards. Nash wasted little time collecting the puck, quickly broke in on Anderson, and fired a laser over the shoulder of Anderson for the 2-1 lead. Stepan has been in a bit of a slump as of late, but tonight was his coming out party as he picked up two apples and even potted a goal late in the second period.
Stepan's goal was exactly the type of goal he needed as he was practically handed the puck on a silver platter from Erik Karlsson. Chris Kreider did a great job pressuring Karlsson behind the net, and forced him to play a quick play to avoid the turnover. Unluckily for him, the puck wound up finding the wide open Stepan, and he ripped it off the post and into the back of the net.
With the Senators looking to come out flying in the third period, the Rangers had a tough task ahead of them to keep the Sens at bay. They continued to do much of what they did in the second period, but the Senators forced them to be a bit more alert in their own end. Talbot wound up coming away with a few big saves in close, including one that robbed Mark Methot point blank at the top of the crease.
Mats Zuccarello eventually put the game away with a late goal coming with a little over three minutes remaining in regulation. Zuccarello anticipated a behind the back pass from Chris Phillips, and quickly transitioned to give himself a breakaway. After a head fakes an fancy moves, Zuccarello popped the puck under the crossbar to close out the scoring at 4-1.
Yet another big win for the Rangers, and they currently lead the East with their 15th road win of the regular season. The Rangers will have a quick turnaround, however, as they will be right back in action tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals.