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Ottawa Senators 4, New York Rangers 1 FINAL

NHL.com @NHL

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 keep working.''

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 Rangers 31-15.

``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 said.

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 second.

``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 said.

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.

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