Rangers roll over Senators
The Ottawa Senators have several new players this season but they displayed some disturbing old tendencies in a 5-2 road loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday night to start their season.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson and rookie Peter Regin were the only Ottawa players to score on star Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, with the other Senators not able to bury their chances.
The Senators were also often outworked along the boards, leading to several prime New York scoring chances.
"I think our lines have a lot of speed and we can handle the puck down low," said Rangers forward Marian Gaborik. "We create a lot of chances."
New Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire showed flashes of the impressive form he showed two seasons ago with Columbus, stopping 29 of 33 shots. But he was outduelled by Lundqvist, who finished with 32 saves.
Brandon Dubinsky had two goals for New York (1-1), with Michael Del Zotto, Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik also scoring. The Rangers were coming off a tough 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
The score was 4-1 with just over one minute left in the third. With Ottawa on the power play, coach Cory Clouston elected to put Leclaire on the bench for an extra attacker.
Dubinsky scored his second into an empty net, while Regin's goal came with just six seconds left.
Weak power plays
Both teams were lacking on the power play. New York went 0-for-5, with the Senators coming up blank in four chances.
"We hurt ourselves by taking a lot of penalties," said Ottawa forward Jason Spezza. "They brought a better structure to their home opener. We were kind of scrambly."
Leclaire was on form in a scoreless first, deflecting Gaborik's bid wide of the net.
New Senators forward Milan Michalek burst through the New York defence in the first minute of the middle period but was denied by Lundqivst glove save.
Prospal opened the scoring at 3:20 of the second after Chris Phillips got caught up ice for Ottawa. Prospal cruised down the right side and picked the top corner over Leclaire's blocker.
Ryan Shannon of the Senators showed his speed in the first half of the period but couldn't get a clean shot on Lundqvist.
Rookie Ottawa defenceman Erik Karlsson was beaten to the puck just inside the New York blue-line, leading to the Dubinsky goal at the exact midpoint of the game. Dubinsky sped down the left wing and beat Leclaire high.
The Rangers enjoyed another odd-man advantage not long after, but Leclaire foiled Michal Rozsival.
It was a key save, as on the same sequence Spezza outfought a New York defender in the corner to feed Alfredsson for Ottawa's first goal of the season at 15:36 of the period.
Mike Fisher, playing on the wing for the Senators, tried to tie it late in the second from a sharp angle, but Lundqvist wasn't biting.
Leclaire's worst moment in the game was a backbreaker goal in the final minute of the period, Del Zotto's first in the NHL. The defenceman shot low from the point.
"It was a great night overall and a night I will never forget," said Del Zotto.
Dubinsky took advantage of an Ottawa breakdown in the neutral zone, cruising in alone on Leclaire and ringing his shot off the bar. Gaborik was opportunistic on the rebound for his second goal in as many games for New York after eight seasons with the Minnesota Wild.
"I think we just try to do a good job of working, trying to get each other the puck and trying to get open," Dubinsky said. "When you have the skill level our line does, you are going to get some goals."
Tempers boiled over late in the third. Ottawa defenceman Matt Carkner scrapped with Donald Brashear, with Fisher and Aaron Voros exchanging in a prolonged fight after the final whistle.
Ottawa (0-1) returns to action Tuesday in Toronto.
- The first version of this game story identified a New York shot taker as Czech defenceman Marek Malik. It was in fact Czech defenceman Michal Rozsival. The mistake has been corrected.Oct 05, 2009 5:05 PM ET
With files from The Associated Press