GAME: New York Rangers (18-19-7-4) at Ottawa Senators (26-12-7-3).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Jaromir Jagr was supposed to be in Florida on Friday night with the hapless
Instead, he was on his way to Ottawa, hoping to provide the New York Rangers
with the spark they'll need to end an embarrassing playoff drought.
Jagr, acquired from Washington for Anson Carter on Friday, is expected to
make his Rangers debut when New York visits the Corel Centre to take on the
In danger of missing the postseason for a seventh straight year despite
having the NHL's top payroll, the Rangers pulled the trigger on the deal after
six months of on-and-off negotiations with the Caps, who were clearly looking
to dump salary.
"If you look at the record today, we're two points back (of eighth
place)," Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather said. "If you're going
to do something, now is the time before it's too late."
Jagr, who had 16 goals and 30 assists for Washington, earning his ninth
All-Star selection earlier this week, was not available for comment after the
trade. However, at the Capitals' morning skate before the Florida game, he said
it had been tough to concentrate because of his anticipated move.
"No matter how much you say to yourself, 'You're a professional. You've got
to go to the game and play your best.' It's not easy because any game or any
sport, if you want to play the best you can play, you have to be mentally
ready," Jagr said. "And it's not easy to do right now."
The Rangers hope he won't take long to adjust to his new environment. New
York has lost its last three games, and is winless in five (0-3-2), dropping
four points behind the Islanders in the hunt for the final Eastern Conference
"(Jagr) told us today he was nervous and excited about it," Sather said.
"He's been a great player and I would think he would come to New York and be
the same player he's been throughout his career. There's no reason to think
that he can't come there and be very successful. He's got a good year going
Jagr and his new teammates will try to cool off the Senators, who are 13-2-4
in their last 19 games. Martin Havlat and Peter Schaefer each scored twice and
Marian Hossa had three assists as Ottawa held on for a 6-5 victory over
Pittsburgh on Thursday.
"We were lucky in the last five seconds, but we got the two points and I am
happy with the way we played tonight," Havlat said.
The Senators have outscored opponents 45-22 during a 9-0-2 stretch at home
since a 3-2 loss to Boston on Dec. 13. Ottawa has moved within one point of
Toronto for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Hossa, one of three Senators added to next month's All-Star Game, has seven
goals and nine assists in his last 10 games.