The Ottawa Senators came into Madison Square Garden tonight, and spoiled the New York Rangers special night with the Presidents Trophy by defeating them 3-0. Aside from the final score, the Rangers actually played very well this evening all while missing three important pieces in Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, and Marc Staal. There was also quite a scare tonight after Mika Zibanejad landed on Henrik Lundqvist's leg, and he was rolling around in some pain early in the first period.
Luckily, it wasn't anything more than just a temporary sting, and Lundqvist was able to shake it off shortly after getting back to his feet. Early on in this game, you would have thought the Rangers were the ones fighting to grab a playoff spot with the way they were playing. The Senators didn't have a whole lot of jump in the first period, and if not for the Rangers flubbing a few golden opportunities, this game might have been much closer.
After a scoreless first period, the Senators finally got on the board late in the second period, and converted not once, but twice within a span of a minute. The first goal came courtesy of Clarke MacArthur who rifled home a perfect centering pass from Mark Stone behind the net, and gave the Senators their first lead of the night. Stone created the entire goal with his hard work behind the net on Ryan McDonagh, and quickly dishing the puck out to MacArthur who was wide open in front.
About a minute after that, the Senators doubled their lead off of a tremendous deflection in the high slot by Kyle Turris. The puck actually took a really high bounce off of the ice after Turris swatted it down, and it resulted in the puck bouncing up towards Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was unable to adjust himself after the wacky deflection, and the puck trickled in behind him after smacking off of his glove hand.
Despite there not being a whole lot on the line for the Rangers, they obviously weren't pleased with their play in the second period, and adjusted accordingly. Just as the first period, the Rangers came out flying early on during the third period, but they were unable to crack a locked in Andrew Hammond. Finally, with about three minutes remaining, Alain Vigneault yanked Lundqvist for the extra attacker and the Rangers looked to break through.
Unfortunately, the Senators defended very well in the final few minutes, which eventually set up an empty net goal for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. That goal pretty much iced the game for the Senators, and they kept their playoff hopes alive with a massive 3-0 win over Presidents Trophy winning Rangers. The Rangers will have one final game left to take care of before the fun begins late next week, and they will take a trip to the nation's capital for a meeting with the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon.