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New-look Senators beat Rangers to end slide

by John Kreiser /
Change your jersey, change your luck.

That's what the Ottawa Senators did on Saturday.

Decked out in their new third jerseys, the Senators snapped a six-game losing streak with a dominant 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place.

"I thought we played really hard and smart," coach Craig Hartsburg said. "The guys kept their energy high over the week which is important and we said keep playing like this every night and we'll win our fair share. Hopefully this was a sign."

The Rangers, who beat the Senators in a shootout Monday night at Madison Square Garden, continued to struggle to score. Ottawa had the game's first 13 shots and outshot New York 36-19. Markus Naslund's wrist shot past Alex Auld 1:32 into the third period was the Rangers' only goal.

By that time, the Senators — wearing their new black unis — were up by three goals.

"When we had black before we had a pretty good record," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "If we can squeeze a few more games in with the black, I won't mind."

Jason Spezza opened the scoring at 5:43 of the first period. Dany Heatley split two Rangers in the New York zone and fed Spezza, whose wrist shot from inside the right circle beat Steve Valiquette.
The Senators then took control of the game with two goals in a span of 82 seconds late in the second. Jesse Winchester beat Valiquette at 17:53 remaining for his second career goal, and Alfredsson made it 3-0 with his fifth of the season at 19:15.
"We stuck with it and played really well," Alfredsson said. "Hopefully this will be the start of a good streak for us."

Longtime Senators defenseman Wade Redden, playing his first game in Ottawa since signing with the Rangers in the offseason, helped set up Naslund's wrister early in the final period, but Nick Foligno tipped Jarkko Ruutu's shot past Valiquette to make it 4-1 at 10:48.

"Ruutu's a real effective player," Spezza said. "I think he's underrated for his hockey sense. He drew penalties early on and gave us some momentum."

Redden was greeted with a video tribute at the six-minute mark of the first period, and the sellout crowd of 19,619 gave him a standing ovation after the retrospective was finished. Redden spent 11 years in Ottawa before joining New York.

"I didn't know it was coming," Redden said. "It was really nice of them to recognize my time here."

It was Ottawa's first victory since a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Nov. 6. The Senators lost the last two in shootouts.

''We felt like we had been playing well enough to win,'' Auld said. ''It's a great feeling to finally get one. It's good for the morale and now we can build on this and keep going.''

The Rangers, coming off a 6-3 home loss to Vancouver on Wednesday, didn't do much to make their coach happy.

"We were 'tweeners' tonight," Tom Renney said. "We weren't between any kind of job that needed to be done. I don't think we placed pucks where they needed to go; we didn't establish much of a forecheck; and we seemed to turn pucks over all night.

"The bottom line for us is that we needed to compete harder than we did. We didn't do what we need to do in order to win until well after the horse was out of the barn."

Material from wire services and team online media was used in this report.

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