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Rangers rip Senators; Lundqvist sets team win record

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Having already climbed past Hall of Famers Ed Giacomin and Gump Worsley on the way toward becoming the winningest goaltender in New York Rangers history, Henrik Lundqvist moved ahead of Mike Richter for first place Tuesday night despite giving up four goals to the Ottawa Senators.

Derick Brassard had two goals and an assist, and Lundqvist made 35 saves for his 302nd win to move past Richter for the most victories by a goaltender in franchise history in an 8-4 victory at Canadian Tire Centre.

"It's an incredible feeling, a proud feeling," Lundqvist said. "Being up there with those guys, you look at the names that played for this organization for a lot of years, and also the franchise has been around for so long, it's kind of surreal when you think about it. But at the same time I want to keep going, obviously.

"I hope I have a lot of years left to keep winning, but definitely a proud feeling and I realize that I've been lucky to play with a lot of great players and it's been a great ride so far. Coaches and players and the whole organization have been treating me really well so it's been a lot of fun."

Rick Nash also scored twice, including one of three unassisted goals for New York. Benoit Pouliot and John Moore had the others.

The Rangers scored four times in the second period, and Ryan McDonagh's goal with 15.3 seconds left capped a three-goal burst in a span of 3:56. Derek Stepan scored early in the third, Brassard added his second of the game at 4:45 and Nash scored into an empty net at 17:30.

New York (37-29-4), which bounced back from a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, moved past the Columbus Blue Jackets into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

"We didn't give [Lundqvist] much help," Nash said. "We've got to be a lot better defensively, but in saying that, we didn't get any bounces last game against San Jose, or any breaks; tonight we got them all and so it was just a fun night offensively."

Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan scored for Ottawa (28-27-13), which couldn't hold 1-0 and 2-1 leads and remained seven points out of the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"Obviously we're embarrassed," Senators captain Jason Spezza said. "That's a must-win game for us and to give up eight is nothing but unacceptable."

Robin Lehner, who made his third consecutive start, stopped 21 of 26 shots through the first two periods and 23 of 28 overall. Lehner was replaced by Nathan Lawson to begin the third, but had to return after Lawson was injured.

Lawson, who made played his first NHL game since Mar. 15, 2011, for the New York Islanders, made eight saves after giving up goals on the first two shots he faced before leaving the game at 11:52.

Brassard drew the Rangers even at 2-2 with his 14th goal at 8:56 of the second period.

Pouliot put the Rangers ahead at 15:48 when he intercepted Senators defenseman Chris Phillips' pass from the left boards intended for Spezza in front of the Ottawa net. Pouliot got his stick on the puck and flicked it past Spezza before beating Lehner for his 12th goal.

Moore made it 4-2 at 18:44 when his shot from the left side on a rolling puck fooled Lehner for his third goal. Brassard got his second point on McDonagh's 12th goal at 19:44.

"We had a pretty good first period and came in, and you know they scored one, and two, three, four so quickly that it was a crapshoot from there," Ryan said. "If I had an answer to where the switch went, obviously we would have corrected it many games ago."

Michalek drew Ottawa to within 5-3 with an unassisted goal 1:27 into the third period. But Stepan scored at 2:40 and Brassard made it 7-3 with his second goal of the game.

Ryan made it 7-4 at 7:11 before Nash hit the empty net.

"The way the game was played in the third [was] not really goalie-friendly," Lundqvist said. "A lot of swinging around and guys in the slot given a lot of time, so you just had to battle through it. It was a battle for everyone but it was a weird game, especially the third period. I'm just happy it's over and we got the win.

"But it was big when we scored that sixth goal. It sounds funny, but you could feel how much momentum they got scoring the third one and the energy changed, but then right away we scored that sixth goal and as funny as it sounds, it was still an important goal."

Hoffman gave Ottawa a 1-0 lead with his second goal at 6:57 of the first period, but Nash scored an unassisted shorthanded goal at 8:02 to tie it.

Zibanejad scored for a second straight game when he put the Senators ahead at 12:44 with a power-play goal. He misfired on his first attempt before finding the puck and beating Lundqvist with a low wrist shot inside the right post.

The Rangers play the second of their three-game road trip Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Senators close out a three-game homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

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