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Preview: Rangers at Senators

Ottawa can clinch second place in Atlantic with win; New York looks to smooth rough spots before playoffs

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

RANGERS (47-27-6) at SENATORS (43-27-10)

12:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, MSG, NHL.TV 


Rangers team scope

The New York Rangers are locked into the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. The Rangers, 3-4-4 in their past 11 games, are looking to fine-tune their game heading into the postseason. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will start; backup Antti Raanta will play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "We know where we are in the standings," Lundqvist told the Rangers website. "It's not going to change, but I think the last week or so, the focus here is to try to go over everything, and take every game here as an opportunity to improve. It's not so much about getting the points, but it's getting solid efforts and to prepare yourself in the best way possible." The Rangers have the best road record in the NHL (27-11-2) and can match its record of 28 road wins in a season, set in 2014-15. "We have some things we want to work on and we have a chance to try to finish up strong here in the regular season and just try to feel good about ourselves, said center Mika Zibanejad, who will play at the Ottawa Senators for the first time since they traded him to the Rangers for center Derick Brassard on July 18. Coach Alain Vigneault needs one win to pass Jacques Martin (613 wins) for 14th place on the NHL all-time list.


Senators team scope

Ottawa can clinch second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round with a win. The Senators lead the Boston Bruins by one point and have two games remaining; the Bruins have one game remaining and five more regulation/overtime wins. Ottawa clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 shootout win at Boston on Thursday. Goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 28 saves against the Bruins, will start. "It's a credit to the guys that were here all year," Anderson told the Ottawa Citizen, "with all the extended leaves to absence to myself, [forward] Clarke (MacArthur, who made his season debut Tuesday after missing 78 games with a concussion) and key injuries throughout the year. It's a testament to the guys for putting in the work and battling for each other and guys making the most of their opportunities." Defenseman Erik Karlsson will miss his second game in a row and his fourth in the past six with a lower-body injury; Karlsson would be playing if this were the playoffs, general manager Pierre Dorion said Friday. Forward Zack Smith will miss his fifth game with an upper-body injury, but Dorion said he will be ready for the playoffs. Dorion said he was hopeful defenseman Marc Methot (finger) and forward Bobby Ryan (upper body) will return for the postseason. Forward Alexandre Burrows needs one goal for 200 in his NHL career. 


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Brandon Pirri -- Taylor Beck

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- Matt Puempel

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Klein

Brendan Smith -- Dan Girardi

Adam Clendening -- Steven Kampfer

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Derek Stepan, Marc Staal

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (undisclosed), Rick Nash (undisclosed), Mats Zuccarello (undisclosed), Jesper Fast (undisclosed), Nick Holden (undisclosed)


Senators projected lineup 

Mike Hoffman -- Kyle Turris -- Mark Stone

Viktor Stalberg -- Derick Brassard -- Alexandre Burrows 

Ryan Dzingel -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Clarke MacArthur -- Chris Kelly -- Tommy Wingels

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Fredrik Claesson -- Ben Harpur

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

ScratchedColin White, Jyrki Jokipakka, Christopher DiDomenico, Chris Neil

Injured: Erik Karlsson (lower body), Zack Smith (upper body), Marc Methot (finger), Bobby Ryan (upper body)


Status report

All of the Rangers' injured players except for McDonagh practiced Friday. The Rangers called up Beck from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Friday. ... Stalberg left the game against the Bruins on Thursday but is expected to play.

Who's hot

Stepan has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past seven games. Zibanejad also has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past seven games. ... Hoffman has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. Turris has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past nine games.

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