RANGERS (12-2-2) at SENATORS (8-5-3)
TV: MSG, RDS, TSN5
Season series: The New York Rangers won the first two games against the Ottawa Senators last season, but Andrew Hammond's 26-save shutout gave Ottawa a 3-0 win at Madison Square Garden on April 9. The Rangers previously had handed Hammond what remains his only regular-season regulation NHL loss, a 5-1 defeat at Canadian Tire Centre on March 26.
Rangers team scope: New York is off to the best 16-game start in franchise history and chases an eighth straight win, which coach Alain Vigneault knows won't come easy. "They [the Senators] are a young team with a lot of talent and potential," Vigneault told Blueshirtsunited.com on Friday. "They just played a real strong game against Vancouver, so we're going to have our hands full [Saturday]. We have to be ready." Forward Dominic Moore will replace Emerson Etem in the lineup. Moore will play on a line with Jarret Stoll and Jesper Fast. "Dom's a veteran player who's been around a long time and what I know about him is that he values the team's success more than anything else," Vigneault said. Six Rangers had multipoint games Thursday in a 6-3 win against the St. Louis Blues, led by forward Mats Zuccarello with one goal and two assists. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh has goals in consecutive games.
Senators team scope: Goalie Craig Anderson will get the start after Hammond ran his NHL career record to 22-1-4 in a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Defenseman Jared Cowen will not play because of an undisclosed injury; Patrick Wiercioch will replace him in the lineup. Cowen did not skate Friday. Coach Dave Cameron switched his forward lines at practice and told the Ottawa Sun that if they stay that way against the Rangers it's for matchup reasons. Mika Zibanejad centered Matt Puempel and Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris was between Milan Michalek and Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau had Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson on his wings, and Zack Smith was in the middle of Curtis Lazar and Chris Neil. Defenseman Erik Karlsson is coming off consecutive games with one goal and one assist. Defenseman Chris Wideman has goals in the past two games he's played, including the game-winner against Vancouver. Ryan has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak.