The New York Rangers’ four-game win streak has ended—and so has their coach’s patience.
The Rangers (22-18-4) will attempt to restore Tom Renney’s faith and recapture their momentum when they host the Ottawa Senators (24-19-2) on Thursday night.
Renney’s team had gotten back on track with four straight victories following a a seven-game losing streak, but the coach was furious after Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday—the Rangers’ fourth in as many games against their archrivals this season.
“We were brutal,” Renney said. “We’re awful. We have no concept of camaraderie. We have no concept of team play. We have no concept of circling the wagons to go play these guys intelligently. We beat ourselves.”
New York’s recent history against Ottawa suggests Renney’s mood might not improve Thursday. The Rangers are 3-10 with one tie in 14 meetings with the Senators since Jan. 6, 2003.
The Senators have won a season high-tying three straight road games, and will be looking for their longest road winning streak since a five-game run from Oct. 29-Nov. 25, 2005.
New York and Ottawa have split two meetings this season, both at Scotiabank Place, with the Senators taking the most recent meeting 1-0 on Dec. 29. Ray Emery made 27 saves to improve to 3-1 with a 1.00 goals-against average in four appearances against the Rangers.
“Every game is critical,” said New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has lost three of his last four starts against Ottawa. “We really need to understand how hard we have to work.”
Against the Islanders, the Rangers gave up two goals in a 27-second span of the third period to provide the final score. Brendan Shanahan had tied the game 42 seconds into the final period for the Rangers.
“Of course we’re upset,” Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr said. “That’s the right word.”
The Senators have won seven of their last nine games, all without top center Jason Spezza, who’s sidelined with a knee injury suffered Dec. 21.
Ottawa looks to maintain its momentum after going 3-1-1 on a five-game homestand that was capped by an impressive 5-2 victory over Boston on Tuesday. The Senators scored five unanswered goals in the third period en route to their second consecutive win.
“There was a sense of confidence in the dressing room, even though we were down two goals after the first period,” said center Mike Comrie, acquired from Phoenix on Wednesday to help fill the void left by Spezza.
The Senators haven’t scored on their last 13 power-play chances, but haven’t given up a goal in eight consecutive short-handed situations.
Ottawa has not allowed more than three goals in its last nine games.