Rangers-Senators Preview

TOM CASTRO (STATS Senior Editor)
The Associated Press

The New York Rangers are getting ready for their only road game in an eight-game stretch.

Unfortunately for them, the Ottawa Senators have dominated the overall series and the meetings in Canada of late.

The Rangers will be looking to end a five-game losing streak to the Senators and a three-game skid at Ottawa when these surging teams meet Saturday.

New York (25-21-3) rebounded from having a three-game winning streak snapped by beating Detroit 1-0 on Thursday behind Henrik Lundqvist, who made 38 saves to continue his recent return to form. Mats Zuccarello scored with less than six minutes left in the third period to give the Rangers a 9-3-1 mark in their last 13 games.

''Lately, we just believe in our system and we play a really strong team game. It's been paying off lately in big games,'' said Lundqvist, 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average in his past five starts.

Lundqvist also gave New York a chance to win with 23 saves in a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday that ended the club's 4-0-1 run. The Rangers have given up seven goals in the past five games.

"We're really clicking right now ... we're getting consistent games," defenseman Anton Stralman said after Thursday's win. "We played for 60 minutes tonight, we got rewarded for it and we've been doing that in previous games as well and I think that's the biggest point we take from this."

The Rangers fired 48 shots on goal against the Red Wings after recording 34 versus the Lightning, but they may need more of those to go in the net if they want to change their fortunes against the Senators (21-18-9).

Ottawa also posted a big shot total Thursday with 44, but suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to Montreal. The Senators came out on the short end despite getting 38 shots in the first two periods.

The hard-earned point extended Ottawa's run to 6-0-2, during which it has totaled 27 goals.

''I thought we did a lot of good things,'' left wing Bobby Ryan said. ''I thought we controlled the pace most of the game. It's a loss and it's a negative in that regard, but I think everyone in the room can take a lot of positives from it.''

Defenseman Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists for the Senators, giving him one goal and seven assists in his past five games.

"... We showed fight that we didn't show fight earlier in the year, so that's what I'm going to take out of it," Ryan told the team's official website after ending his six-game goal drought.

Ottawa has shut down New York offensively during its five consecutive wins, giving up five goals and recording two shutouts. The Senators took the most recent meeting 3-0 at home March 28.

Ottawa has won seven of eight overall against New York.

The Rangers play three straight at Madison Square Garden after this one, starting Sunday night against Washington. The back-to-back contests have prompted coach Alain Vigneault to give backup Cam Talbot his first action since Jan. 4 on Saturday, with Lundqvist presumably facing the Capitals.

Talbot, who will make his third straight road start, has given up one goal in four of his last five contests.

He'll be facing other Senators besides Karlsson that are surging offensively. Clarke MacArthur had a goal and an assist Thursday and has scored one goal in six of his last seven games, while Kyle Turris scored for the fourth straight contest.