The New York Rangers managed to weather a grueling seven-game road stretch to begin the season - one that started with two games in Europe. After following it up with an impressive homestand, they’re ready to hit the road for the first time since that extended jaunt.
Looking to extend their season-best winning streak to five, the Rangers try for a sixth consecutive road victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
New York (7-3-3) managed to earn points in five of its first seven games, a grueling stretch necessitated by the completion of renovations at Madison Square Garden. After dropping the first two contests at their new-look home, the Rangers appear to be getting comfortable there, winning four straight.
“We showed some resilience, some battle and some heart,” Biron said.
“It’s hard when you go on the road for that amount of time because sometimes there’s a let-down feeling that we’re home and it’s going to be a lot easier. There was none of that. It was a lot of hard work that has paid off in the end and that has to keep going.”
New York fell 5-4 in shootout to Ottawa on Oct. 29 in its second home game, but it has to like its chances of extending its run given its recent success at Scotiabank Place. The Rangers have outscored the Senators 16-6 in taking five straight road meetings in the series.
Henrik Lundqvist(notes), who could be back in goal Wednesday, has gone 6-0-0 with a 1.32 goals-against average and one shutout in his last six games in Ottawa. However, he surrendered three of his season worst-tying four goals in the third period Oct. 29.
The Senators (7-7-1) concluded last month with a season-best six wins in a row, but they’ve dropped three straight to open November.
After falling 2-1 to Montreal on Friday, the Senators suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Saturday. Milan Michalek(notes) scored his team-best ninth goal and Craig Anderson(notes) made 31 saves, but Ottawa gave up two goals in a 2:16 span of the second period.
“They were two pretty close games,” center Jason Spezza(notes) told the team’s official website. “There’s things we can do better, but we don’t feel like we have to change too much … Just try to put the puck in the net a little more. We had some chances and both games were pretty good hockey games. We just have to find a way to win (those) games and get results.”
All of Spezza’s team-leading 15 points came in the first 11 games, but he’s been held without one over the last four contests. He has 14 points in 13 career home meetings with the Rangers.
While Ottawa’s recent skid can be partly attributed to Spezza’s lack of production, captain Daniel Alfredsson’s(notes) absence certainly hasn’t helped. Alfredsson, who suffered a concussion on a hit to the head from the Rangers’ Wojtek Wolski(notes), is likely to miss a fifth straight game.
Wolski is expected to miss a month following sports hernia surgery. The left wing has been out seven games due to the injury.
Anderson is 6-2-1 against New York with one shutout and a 1.95 GAA - his second-lowest mark versus any opponent. He’ll have to worry about center Brad Richards(notes), who has five goals and three assists in his last four matchups with Ottawa.