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Surging Senators visit red-hot Rangers

by Dave Lozo

SENATORS (23-15-6) at RANGERS (27-9-4)


LAST 10: Ottawa 7-1-2; New York 9-1-0

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings, with the Rangers holding a 1-0-1 record in the first two contests. Both have been exciting, with the Senators rallying from a three-goal third period deficit to win 5-4 in a shootout at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 29 in the Rangers' home opener. The Rangers responded Nov. 9 with a 3-2 win at Scotiabank Place.

Big Story: Two of the NHL's hottest teams are meeting for the first time in more than two months. The Rangers have won five straight and 10 of 11 while the Senators are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games.

Team Scope:

Senators: A 10-game road swing with one home game sprinkled into the mix started Tuesday in Pittsburgh. The Senators started off the right way, pasting the Penguins 5-1.

A contest against the No. 1 team in the NHL could be looked at as a measuring-stick game, but center Jason Spezza instead is looking at this road swing as the measuring stick.

"This whole trip is. We're not going to live or die by one game," Spezza said. "This trip is a measuring stick for us. This is a real tough trip, and we're just trying to be real short-sighted with how we approach it, because it can be a real daunting task if you look at the big picture. It's definitely a big game for us, but we're kind of using the whole trip as the test."

Rangers: It was another complete performance against the Coyotes on Tuesday, a 2-1 shootout victory in which the Rangers received a contribution from outside their top two lines.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored the Rangers' only goal in regulation. Along with Brian Boyle and Carl Hagelin, the third line was the Rangers' best for long stretches. Derek Stepan netted the shootout winner in the sixth round, but it was depth that helped the Rangers stay hot.

"Feds has been playing well, but hasn't been rewarded," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "Boyle put up a few chances tonight, but still isn't rewarded. I thought it was one of our better lines."

Who's Hot: Since arriving in a trade, Senators forward Kyle Turris has one goal and seven assists in 11 games.

Injury Report: The Senators are without forwards Peter Regin (shoulder) andJesse Winchester (concussion). Defenseman Erik Karlsson missed Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury, but he's expected to be back against the Rangers. … The Rangers are still without defensemenMichael Sauer (concussion) andSteve Eminger (shoulder).

Stat Pack: The Senators and Rangers are the League's two best teams when trailing after two periods. Both sport .300 winning percentages, with the Rangers going 3-6-1 and the Senators going 6-13-1.

Puck Drop: " They're a great team. They're rolling really well right now. We're coming off a pretty good streak right now too. It's going to be a hard-fought battle. All we have to do is stick with what we're doing and what works for us. We're not going to focus too much on them. We know they're playing well, but we have to do what we need to do to have success." -- Senators coach Paul MacLean on facing the Rangers

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