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Surging Senators visit Rangers for Saturday matinee

by Dave Lozo
SENATORS (5-5-0) at RANGERS (3-3-2)


Season Series:
This is the first of four meetings. Last season, they split their four-game series, with the Rangers squeaking out an extra point thanks to a shootout loss in the final matchup.

Big Story: After the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Senators are the hottest team in the League. They've won four straight after a 1-5 start to climb back to .500. They'll try to keep it going against the Rangers, who have lost five of eight this season and can't find any consistent offense.

Team Scope:

Senators: Facing a one-goal deficit on two occasions against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, the young and inexperienced Senators clawed back for a 4-3 victory. Nick Foligno pounced on a rebound of a Daniel Alfredsson shot to score with less than 4 seconds remaining to give the Sens a 4-3 victory.
"It was nice to help out the team," Foligno said. "We have a knack for winning in dramatic fashion this season."
It's the second game-winning goal for the Senators in the final seconds this week. On Saturday, Milan Michalek scored with 5 seconds remaining in regulation to beat the Blue Jackets.

Rangers: Back home after a marathon road trip with stops in Europe and Western Canada, the Rangers fell flat against the Leafs. They led 1-0 after one period, but allowed four straight goals in a 4-2 loss.
Coach John Tortorella said the team has lacked focus in the early going, and it showed Thursday. Henrik Lundqvist allowed a pair of questionable goals after a nearly flawless start to the season.
"It would be great if we came in here and clicked perfectly, but realistically we have some work to do," said offseason signing Brad Richards, who was brought in to play on a line with scorer Marian Gaborik. "We've got to get to know each other on the ice. We're both used to having the puck, and that's a work in progress for sure."

Who's Hot:
Quietly off to a great start is Jason Spezza, who has 5 goals and 13 points in 10 games. … There's not much in the way of heat for the Rangers of late, but defensive-minded defenseman Dan Girardi had a goal and 3 assists in his past 4 games.

Injury Report:
Senators forward Peter Regin is out 6-8 weeks with a shoulder injury that requires surgery. Defenseman Matt Carkner (knee) is out until November. … Rangers forward Michael Rupp (knee) was a scratch against the Leafs but could be back for this game.

Stat Pack: The acquisition of Richards was designed to help the power play, but the Rangers are 29th in the League, converting on just 9.7 percent of their chances (3-for-31). Meanwhile, the Senators are clicking at a 29.4 percent rate (10-for-34).

Puck Drop:
"It's a confidence booster. We just keep finding ways to win the hard games. It's real easy to play when you're up by five goals." -- Senators goalie Craig Anderson, talking about his team's propensity for dramatic late wins

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