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Slumping Senators head for the Big Apple

by Dave Lozo

SENATORS (22-21-4) at RANGERS (22-17-7)

Last 10
-- Ottawa 4-6-0; New York 5-1-4

Season series
-- This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The Rangers won the first two, 5-2 at MadisonSquareGarden on Oct. 3 and 2-1 in a shootout at Scotiabank Place on Nov. 14.

Big story -- The injury-riddled Sens are reeling, having lost their last five games. The Rangers have just five wins in their last 10 games, but they've earned a point in five of their losses over that span and are coming off an epic 1-0 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

Team scope:

-- "We're in a slump, a tough spot right now," Ottawa's Chris Kelly said after Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Thrashers in Atlanta.

Losing streak aside, they are also right in the middle of a five-game road swing. The Sens have been outscored 22-5 during this five-game losing streak and have been without captain Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza during this recent stretch.

"Right now it seems what can go wrong is going wrong," Sens coach Cory Clouston said. "We've just got to suck it up and move forward."

-- Don't let the heartbreaking loss to the Devils fool you -- the Rangers are playing really well right now.

They have 8 wins in their last 13 games and have picked up points in 12 of those 13 games thanks to reaching overtime in four of those five losses. But the Rangers are looking at the glass as half-full in those games.

"I don't have any complaints for how we played," Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the loss to the Devils. "It is frustrating when you come away with one point there."

Who's hot
-- When you're playing as poorly as the Sens are lately, it's tough to find anyone with a pulse, never mind hot. No one has more than two points in the team's last five games.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist hasn't allowed more than two goals in his last six games. He has a .953 save percentage over that span.

Injury report
-- The Senators will be without the services of right wing Alfredsson (shoulder), center Spezza (knee), left wing Milan Michalek (upper-body) and center Jesse Winchester (knee). Defenseman Filip Kuba is questionable with a knee injury. … The Rangers got forward Vaclav Prospal back this week and are as healthy as a team can be at this stage of the season.

Stat pack
-- Prospal will play in his second game after missing seven games because of arthroscopic knee surgery. ... Ottawa (14.0 percent) has the worst power-play efficiency in the League. The Rangers rank third in penalty-killing at 86.4 percent. ... The Senators are 2-for-49 on the power play in their last 15 games.

Puck drop
-- "I think goaltending is a lot in your head. I don't think I've changed too much technically in the last two weeks. I just think it's overthinking." -- Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire, who has allowed 12 goals on 85 shots in his last three games, good for an .856 save percentage.

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