Late goal lifts Senators over Rangers, 3-2
NEW YORK (AP) — Whatever troubles the Ottawa Senators have on the road never seem to bother them at Madison Square Garden.
The Senators grabbed a two-goal lead in the first period that was gone before the intermission, but Jakob Silfverberg broke a tie with 4:41 left in the third to help Ottawa snap a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
The Senators ended an 0-2-2 skid and won on the road for only the fourth time (4-7-2) this season. Ottawa had been 1-7-2 in its previous 10 road games, but the Senators improved to 12-1-1 in their past 14 visits to Manhattan.
“We haven’t had the killer instinct on the road,” Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said of the Senators, who haven’t lost at the Garden since Oct. 3, 2009. “Tonight was a big boost for us. We laid it all out on the line in the third period.
“We do have good energy in this building. I can’t quite explain why. It’s always fun to play in New York. This is a fantastic building.”
Just moments after Silfverberg gave Henrik Lundqvist — his Swedish countryman — a snow shower when the Rangers goalie covered the puck, he made New York pay even more with the winning goal.
Silfverberg got a rebound of defenseman Eric Gryba’s shot and put it past Lundqvist for his fourth of the season. Zack Smith and Patrick Wiercioch scored in the first period, defenseman Sergei Gonchar had two assists, and Robin Lehner made 33 saves for the Senators.
“This was big for our team,” Silfverberg said. “It was nice for me to get one against Henrik. We didn’t think about losing. It was a special goal.”
Lehner helped set up Silfverberg’s heroics about 9 minutes earlier when he stopped New York’s Derek Stepan, who was left alone right in front of the crease off a feed from Marian Gaborik.
“He made a good save,” Stepan said. “He came across and had his blocker up. I could shoot myself for it, but it’s a good save.”
Rick Nash and Brad Richards, in his first game back following a two-game injury absence, scored in the opening period, but the Rangers had a season-best, four-game winning streak broken.
Lundqvist stopped 36 shots.
The Senators dominated the first half of the opening period, yet they couldn’t hang onto their 2-0 lead.
Rangers coach John Tortorella burned his only timeout right after the first goal. His team started slowly while playing one night after a road win over the New York Islanders.
Another Ottawa goal followed, but the Rangers found their legs and quickly rallied.
“We’ve just got to dig down deeper, play better and get the win,” Nash said. “We just had to get going. We came out a bit sluggish, so we take 30 seconds to regroup. I thought we came back a lot better.”
Just 13 seconds after Wiercioch doubled Ottawa’s advantage, Nash cut the Rangers’ deficit in half with his ninth goal of the season and first not scored in the third period.
Nash took a pass from defenseman Michael Del Zotto in the slot and snapped a shot that beat Lehner at 11:03. Since Nash missed four games in February — all Rangers losses (0-3-1) — the star forward has been on a tear.
Nash has six goals in five games, along with three assists, and he has a nine-game point streak that predates his injury.
Richards tied it with 2:21 left in the first off a feed from Carl Hagelin. Following a defensive zone faceoff, Hagelin raced the puck up left wing and dropped it back to Richards, who heeded the chants of the home crowd and fired a one-timer from the top edge of the circle that beat Lehner to the glove side.
It was Richards’ third goal of the season and first in 16 games, dating to Jan. 26 against Toronto.
“We could have had a better outcome,” said Richards, who created chemistry on a line with Nash. “We could have had a better third, so it’s tough to talk about anything else.”
Smith started the scoring with his second of the season — and in two games. Gonchar let go a shot from inside the blue line that was deflected in the slot by Smith. The puck then bounced off the ice in front of Lundqvist and slipped past him.
Wiercioch made it 2-0 with a long drive that got through a maze of legs and sticks and beat Lundqvist for a power-play goal.
NOTES: Brian Boyle took part in the pregame warm-up but was scratched to make room in the lineup for Richards. ... Senators defenseman Chris Phillips was given 19 minutes in penalties after he came to the defense of teammate Jim O’Brien in the first period. Phillips charged at Micheal Haley after he flattened O’Brien at the side of the net with a hit. Phillips still had his gloves on when Haley started punching. Phillips was given a minor penalty for instigating and another for instigating a fight while wearing a visor. He also received a major for fighting and a misconduct. Haley was called for charging in addition to his fighting major. ... Wiercioch has scored his two goals this season in the past three games.