NEW YORK (AP) _ The Ottawa Senators had such an easy time in their last
meeting with the New York Rangers, you could hardly blame them for a slow start
in the rematch.
Just 23 days earlier, the Senators sent New York to its worst loss in 11
years. The Rangers insisted they'd be ready for the Senators on Monday.
After a positive start, things again turned strongly in Ottawa's favor.
Zdeno Chara and Josh Langfeld scored 41 seconds apart in the third period to
lift the Senators past the free-falling Rangers 4-1.
At the halfway point, each team had seven shots and two fights. But after
Bobby Holik gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead, the Senators picked up the pace.
``We were missing our pregame nap,'' Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson
said of the holiday matinee. ``They got to 1-0 and it sort of woke us up.''
Chara, who also had an assist and a fight in his second straight multipoint
game, put Ottawa in front at 7:11 of the period. Then Langfeld scored to help
the Senators to their fourth straight win since the All-Star break.
The Rangers protested Chara's goal because Senators forward Bryan Smolinski
was draped over goalie Jussi Markkanen when the shot went in.
``It was a seeing-eye shot, but still it's goaltender interference any way
you look at it,'' Rangers coach Glen Sather said.
Holik gave the Rangers the lead, but it wasn't enough. The Rangers, who lost
their third straight, are 11th in the Eastern Conference and 11 points behind
the playoff cutoff.
``We are emotionally fragile because of our performance the last few
weeks,'' Holik said. ``The only way out of it is to put our heads down and just
The Senators expected a physical game from the Rangers, and were impressed
by their resolve to play tight, smart defense early on.
``They are a desperate team,'' Alfredsson said. ``We were kind of ready for
them to come out and give everything they have, and I think they did.''
Chara had a goal and two assists Saturday against Montreal. He earned his
eighth multipoint game of the season by setting up Martin Havlat's 20th goal
and scoring his career-best 13th.
Bryan Smolinski made it 4-1 with 5:54 left for the Senators, who outshot the
``I didn't think they could keep it up for 60,'' Smolinski said of the
Rangers' intensity. ``We stuck to our gameplan and capitalized on mistakes.''
New York's Matthew Barnaby was awarded a penalty shot with 1:11 left, but
even that didn't go well as he shot wide.
The Senators peppered New York in the third period much like they did Jan.
24 in a 9-1 drubbing during Jaromir Jagr's debut with the Rangers. Jagr missed
this one because of a groin injury that has cost him two games.
Jussi Markkanen allowed six goals then and four more Monday.
He kept it scoreless early in the second period by frustrating Havlat. The
Senators forward, who reached 20 goals for the third time in his four-year NHL
career, came in alone but had his shot turned away.
Havlat, who assisted on Smolinski's goal, had another breakaway with just
under six minutes remaining, but he was hooked down from behind and didn't get
off a shot. That one could've resulted in a penalty or penalty shot, but
nothing was called.
``I had similar chances on two shifts and didn't even had a shot on net,''
Havlat finally solved Markkanen when he got to a rebound of Chara's shot and
smacked the puck off the right post. The shot caromed forward and hit
Markkanen's right leg and slid back in to tie it 1-1 with 2:11 left in the
``I saw that I hit the post and I said 'OK, it's one of those days.' But
then I saw he put it back with his pad so I was happy about that,'' Havlat
The power-play goal was Ottawa's NHL-best 64th with the man advantage.
New York took a 1-0 lead with 4:01 left in the second when Holik knocked
Fedor Tyutin's shot between the pads of seated goalie Patrick Lalime. It was
Tyutin's first NHL point in two career games.