Ottawa’s Ben Bishop stood tall against the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
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The Senators’ 6-foot-7 goaltender was visibly pleased after making 24 saves to earn his second NHL shutout with a 3-0 victory over the Rangers.
”It’s nice when you get the win, especially against a good team like that which has a lot of good players,” said Bishop. ”I thought the guys in front of me played unbelievable and they kept a lot of their shots to the outside and also scored a couple of goals.”
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was slumped in his locker room stall after a 26-save effort.
”I don’t know what to say. I have a few thoughts, but I don’t think it’s going to help our group right now. Bottom line is it’s not good enough and we’re not going to make it if …” said Lundqvist, trailing off before continuing. ”We need everybody right now and we need top plays and smart plays for 60 minutes.
”We’re playing teams that are working really hard and we have to match it. If we’re not matching it we’re not going to win.”
Andre Benoit, Guillaume Latendresse and Colin Greening scored for Ottawa, while Mika Zibanejad and Chris Neil chipped in with two assists apiece.
The Rangers applied heavy pressure while trailing 1-0 midway through the third period but could not get the puck past Bishop. The Ottawa goaltender was unflappable, throwing his body in front of a Ryan McDonagh shot and using the shaft of his stick to block another.
”I realized I was in big trouble and I kind of thought that (McDonagh) had that short side so at the last second I dove over there and got a piece of it,” Bishop said.
When the Senators finally relieved the pressure after about a minute, they went down ice and Latendresse beat Lundqvist with a low shot from the faceoff circle. Greening scored into an empty net with just over two minutes to play.
”That’s something the coach talks about, that when a team puts pressure, just settle down, don’t panic and get to your position and good things will happen,” Latendresse said. ”They put a lot of pressure in the third and I thought they played well, so we were happy that goal went in, but it could have come from anyone else the way we played.
”Everybody played pretty well.”
The Senators scored the only goal of the opening two periods when Benoit let loose a point shot that found the back of the net with Anton Stralman in the penalty box for tripping.
Lundqvist was visibly upset with McDonagh immediately following the goal. Not only did Lundqvist not see the shot, but he took an elbow to the head from his defenseman just before it went in.
McDonagh was in between Lundqvist and Neil battling for position in front of the net. Neil won that battle to help the Senators take a 1-0 lead and leave Lundqvist frustrated.
”It was such a big goal in the game and it’s so important for us to get it done on the (penalty kill) and we’re not,” Lundqvist said. ”We tried to get out of the period with a tie game and instead they get that one. I talked about it the other night that if we’re losing special teams (battles) we’ll have a tough time winning games. It’s really disappointing, and I’m going to leave it at that.”
With the New York Islanders’ shootout win over Philadelphia on Thursday, the Rangers fell into a tie with the Isles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Senators are fifth in the East, two points back of Boston.
Notes: Darroll Powe and Matt Gilroy were scratches for the Rangers, while Mike Lundin and Peter Regin sat for the Senators. … The Senators swept the three-game season series. … The Rangers came in with the fewest average penalty minutes per game in the NHL at 9.9. … C Brian Boyle played in his 300th NHL game and 264th with the Rangers. … The Senators own the league’s best home record at 13-2-3. … Ottawa came into the game with an NHL-best 2.06 goals allowed per game.