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Posted On Monday, 04.23.2012 / 12:34 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers hope to rally behind Boyle's absence

OTTAWA -- The Rangers will be without Brian Boyle (concussion) for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Boyle did not make the trip to Ottawa after absorbing a bruising hit from Senators forward Chris Neil early in the third period of Game 5. In five games, Boyle has a team-high three goals.

The Senators used an incident in Game 1 when Boyle roughed Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was also called for roughing on the play, to spark the team to victory in Game 2.

Can the Rangers use Boyle's absence in the same way?

"You use everything," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "I mean, you have to have a win to stay in the season. You don't need much more motivation than that. It's a big game for us. You don't want to see a guy like that go down. He's meant so much for us throughout the playoffs so far. It would be nice to come in here and get a win for him."

The Rangers have dropped two straight in the series and have just three goals in their past three games and just one at even strength. They fired 41 shots on Senators goalie Craig Anderson in a 1-0 loss in Game 5, but as well as the Rangers feel they played in that loss, Callahan said they need to find another level with Boyle out of the lineup.

"I think we have to find another level, especially tonight," Callahan said. "I think they're going to come out hard. We have to find a way to get that goal or that next goal. Tonight's a big game for us and we have to be ready for it."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers need more from Gaborik

NEW YORK -- Marian Gaborik has been extremely quiet during the Eastern Conference Quartefinals with one goal and two assists in four games against the Ottawa Senators.

Three points in four games sounds plenty good on the surface, but Gaborik's only even-strength point came on a goal in Game 1 and he picked up both assists during a pair of first-period power plays in Game 4.

Driving the net and scoring from the high-traffic areas were hallmarks of Gaborik's 41-goal regular season and he said Saturday morning before Game 5 against the Senators that he needs to be better in that regard.

"We have to do more," Gaborik said, "myself and everybody else."

Since jumping to a 4-0 lead in a Game 1 victory, the Rangers have been dominated at even strength with the Senators holding a 6-2 scoring advantage during 5-on-5 play. Both goals were scored by forward Brian Boyle while regular-season leading scorers Gaborik, Richards and Ryan Callahan have been unable to generate anything at even strength over the past three games.

Gaborik said it's about getting back to what made himself and the team effective in the regular season -- going to the net and scoring dirty goals.

"It's very tight," Gaborik said. "It's been tight for these four games and it's going to be even tighter tonight. It's going to come down to battles and whoever puts more pucks on the net and tries to find those rebounds and gets some ugly goals.

"You have to battle for every inch of the ice out there. It's going to be the same tonight. We just have to do it. Everybody has to go out there and work hard and try to win those battles and create some offense. It's not going to be a lot of odd-man rushes, 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s, so we just have to get some zone time and find something there."

Gaborik and Richards haven't been the same since linemate Carl Hagelin was suspended after his elbow to the head of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in Game 2. Hagelin, who worked well with the duo by tracking down the pucks and driving back defenders with his speed, won't be eligible to return to the lineup until Game 6.

"We obviously miss him," Gaborik said. "We have to find a way to generate more offense. We have to get in on the forecheck and try to be more aggressive. We have to try to hunt the pucks down and get some zone time."

Coach John Tortorella has mixed and matched his lines over the past two games and will likely break up Gaborik and Richards at the start of Game 5. During practice Friday, Gaborik was on a line with Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov while Richards was centering Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, combinations that generated pressure during the third period of Game 4.

Those units comprised the Rangers' top two lines during the early part of the season, and Gaborik hopes the magic he had with Stepan and Anisimov is there again.

"We had some good chemistry during the year," Gaborik said. "We have to get that started tonight, especially 5-on-5, create some offense and be responsible defensively. We have been successful with our forecheck, with our zone time when we played together, that's what we have to do tonight."

Gaborik said his two assists on two power-play goals in the first period of Game 4 were encouraging, but he hopes it carries over to 5-on-5, where the Rangers have been ineffective of late.

"Power play was good. Hopefully we can build on it," Gaborik said. "5-on-5, that's where we have to be better and try to get some offense there. Its' going to be a good game tonight and we're going to be ready."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 1:26 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Projected lineups for Game 5

NEW YORK -- Here's a look at the projected lineups for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Sens forward Jesse Winchester (upper-body) is out with Mark Stone likely making his NHL debut in his place. The Rangers shuffled their lines a bit during practice Friday but should have no lineup changes, but defenseman Steve Eminger (ankle) said he is now day-to-day and could return at any time.


Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Erik Condra - Kyle Turris - Nick Foligno
Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Mark Stone - Jim O'Brien - Zenon Konopka

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner

Craig Anderson
Ben Bishop


Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Chris Kreider - John Mitchell - Mike Rupp

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 1:14 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Stone could make NHL debut for Senators

NEW YORK -- Mark Stone called his first trip to Manhattan a "culture shock."

He hopes his first NHL game, which will likely be Saturday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, won't be quite as jarring or unsettling.

The 19-year-old who has spent the past four seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL is likely to make his professional debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with this best-of-seven series tied at 2-2. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound winger was taken in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft and was recalled by the Senators on Monday with no expectations of cracking the lineup.

But an upper-body injury to forward Jesse Winchester during Game 4 opened a spot in the lineup which will likely be filled by Stone, who skated on the team's fourth line at practice with Jim O'Brien and Zenon Konopka.

"I came to Ottawa with no expectations," Stone said. "I just wanted to be around that playoff atmosphere and if I can get in, that'll be something special for me. I just want to help the team the best I can."

Coach Paul MacLean wouldn't confirm his lineup, but talked about what Stone would bring to the table.

"We're keeping everything open at this point," MacLean said. "He's a good young player and has had a big year. He has a big scoring ability, good size. If we choose to use him, I'd like to have him on the power play."

Stone participated in the 2012 World Junior Championships for Team Canada and finished fourth in scoring with seven goals and three assists in six games. Stone's early time in Brandon was marred by a concussion and thumb injury during the 2008-09 season that limited him to 39 games.

Stone broke out in a big way over the next two seasons, with 37 goals and 69 assists in 71 games in 2009-10 and 41 goals and 82 assists in 66 games this season.

Making the jump from junior hockey to the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be daunting, but teammate Nick Foligno believes Stone has the temperament to do it.

"I remember doing it and I had a little more time with training camp and things like that, but he's been thrown in to the fire so to speak with the NHL playoffs," said Foligno, who went from the OHL to the NHL with a 28-game stint in the AHL in between at the start of the 2007-08 season. "He doesn't have a lot of break-in time. He's handled it really well. He's a quiet guy and he's a happy-go-lucky kid who's enjoying being here. I think that will bode well for him."

Foligno's advice, despite Saturday night being the most pressure-packed game of the season for the Senators, is to relax and enjoy the situation as much as possible.

"I think sometimes you come in and try to do too much," Foligno said. "I think we want to see him play the way that got him here. It's the only offer I can give him and just have as much fun with it as possible because it's a blast. There's a lot of pressure, but if you can get some fun out of it, it makes it really enjoyable and hopefully he'll do really well."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 12:31 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

MacLean: Alfredsson making progress

NEW YORK -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean said Saturday morning that captain Daniel Alfredsson skated and is making progress in his recovery from a concussion.

Alfredsson did not join the Senators for their trip to New York and will not play in Game 5 of the Senators' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Rangers.

Alfredsson has not played since absorbing an elbow to the head from the Rangers forward Carl Hagelin during the second period of Game 2. Hagelin was suspended three games for the hit and is eligible to return to the lineup for Game 6 on Monday.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Posted On Friday, 04.20.2012 / 12:52 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers waiting on more offense from top players

NEW YORK -- During a conference call with reporters Thursday, Rangers coach John Tortorella was asked if his best players had been his best players through the first four games of his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Ottawa Senators.

"I'm not about to -- in Game 4 -- to start naming names," Tortorella said. "We've had some people, secondary players, play some good minutes."

Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, the team's top-two scorers in the regular season, have been almost non-existent at even strength since Game 1 of the series. They each have a goal and two assists, but they picked up their assists on the power play in the first period of Game 4. Richards' lone goal made it 4-0 during the third period of Game 1 when the contest was long since decided.

Following practice Friday at Madison Square Garden, a tight-lipped Tortorella added, "Our top guys, just like everybody, want to be our top guys."

Richards was more open to discussing the topic and agreed they need to put the puck in the net more, starting with Game 5 on Saturday night with the best-of-seven series tied at 2-2. The Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime in Game 4 after letting a 2-0 lead -- and golden chances to make it 3-0 -- slip away.

"Obviously, we just need to score more goals," Richards said. "It's 2-2 and we lose in overtime. (We need to score) more goals or make it 3-0 instead. We want to make big plays."

Captain Ryan Callahan has two goals and an assist in the series and said it's great that Brian Boyle (three goals) and Anton Stralman (two goals) have delivered, but the Rangers' top-flight guys need to be just that over the rest of the series.

"Your best players have to be at their best, especially this time of year. You need them," Callahan said. "You're going to have other guys step up and score some big goals like Boyle has and Stralman has two. For us to win the series, we definitely have to have our top guys going."

Since that four-goal barrage in Game 1, the Senators have outscored the Rangers 6-2 at five-on-five. The key to rectifying that problem, according to Callahan, is getting more traffic in front of Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.

"I think we just have to continue to get pucks to the net, get some bodies there," Callahan said. "I think he's seeing a lot of shots. If we do that and bang in some rebounds, I think we'll be successful."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 7:14 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Alfredsson to miss Game 4

OTTAWA -- As expected, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will not be in the lineup Wednesday night for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers.

Daniel Alfredsson
Right Wing - OTT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 6 | +/-: -2
The 39-year-old hasn't skated since Monday morning, but coach Paul MacLean didn't rule him out for Game 4 on Wednesday morning. Alfredsson did not participate in the team's pregame skate Wednesday.

Alfredsson suffered a concussion from an elbow to the head from Rangers forward Carl Hagelin during the second period of Game 2. Hagelin received a three-game ban for the infraction.

The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 12:38 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers see physical series as part of playoff hockey

OTTAWA -- After the Rangers won Game 1 of this series, Senators coach Paul MacLean took a different approach to Game 2 by inserting defenseman Matt Carkner and forward Zenon Konopka into the lineup.

The addition of two physical presences worked, as the Senators won Game 2 to even the series. It came at a price, as Carkner was suspended for Game 3 due to his one-sided, one-man bout with the Rangers' Brian Boyle in the first period.

The Rangers won Game 3, but all signs point to Carkner being back in the lineup for Wednesday night's Game 4 at Scotiabank Place. That doesn't necessarily guarantee a repeat of Game 2, according to the Rangers' Mike Rupp, who believes the bitterness seen in that contest is natural during the postseason.

"Playoff hockey is not really an open brand of hockey," Rupp said. "It creates a lot more confrontations. You're literally digging on ice that you want and everyone wants whether it's in front of the net, where the scrums are usually starting, or in the corners. Those little things can turn into a lot, so you just try to gain whatever you can."

Brandon Prust, who led the NHL in fighting majors this season with 20, said he won't know what to expect until the puck is dropped.

"Who knows? Every game is different," Prust said. "Obviously in Game 2, there were some more hot tempers I guess. You never know what's going to happen in every game. Every day is a new day. It's the playoffs, so anything can happen."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 12:28 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Projected Game 4 lineup for Rangers

OTTAWA -- Best of luck getting a straight answer from either coach in this series about their lineups, but it doesn't appear the New York Rangers will be making any changes in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Senators.

Carl Hagelin is still out due to suspension, which means Chris Kreider will make his second appearance in an NHL game. Henrik Lundqvist will make the start in net.

These are the way the lines looked for the Rangers in Game 3, and there's little reason to believe they will change Wednesday night:

Chris Kreider - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
John Mitchell - Derek Stepan - Mike Rupp

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 6:53 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Special teams haven't been effective

KANATA, Ont. -- Special teams are very important in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There isn't a player in the League who will tell you otherwise.
But so far in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers, neither team's power play has had much of an impact.
The Rangers have one goal in 11 chances while the Senators have one goal in 10 chances and rank 13th and 12th, respectively, among teams in the postseason.
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