Senators-Rangers Preview

Coach John Tortorella tweaked the New York Rangers’ top two

lines during practice on Friday ahead of Game 5 of the Eastern

Conference playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.

The series is tied 2-2 after New York’s 3-2 overtime loss on

Wednesday in Ottawa. After a day off, the Rangers returned to

practice on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers have scored nine goals in four games. So Tortorella

had Marian Gaborik skate with Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov,

while Brad Richards centered Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky

during practice.

”Our top guys, just like everybody, wants to be our top guys,”

Tortorella said when asked about the changes.

The Senators announced on Twitter that captain Daniel

Alfredsson, who was elbowed in the head by Carl Hagelin in Game 2,

will remain home. Prospect Mark Stone will make the trip to New

York on Friday night.

Hagelin, who was suspended three games, will miss Game 5 on

Saturday night at the Garden.

The switch of lines may give the Rangers a boost, Callahan

said.

”We’re not creating too much offense five-on-five, so maybe try

to get a spark,” he said. ”We’re all playing the same system so

no matter who you’re playing with, nothing changes. We’re

comfortable playing with anybody, (so) it doesn’t make a difference

to us.”

The Senators have scored eight goals in the series. The Rangers

have limited the offense of Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson to one

goal apiece. Jason Spezza has added two assists.

”(It’s) just being aware of where they are,” Marc Staal said.

”We’ve had success against top lines throughout the year. We know

we have to be sharp against them. It doesn’t matter who you throw

out against them, we have a good chance to shut them down.”

Tortorella said in a conference call Thursday that the third

period of Game 4 was New York’s ”best since (the) first game.”

Staal agreed and suggested it could be a foundation heading into

Game 5.

Despite Kyle Turris’ game-winning goal in overtime Wednesday

night, New York outshot the Senators 14-10 in the third period and

extra session.

”Going into the third, we knew we needed to have a big period

(and) we did,” Staal said. ”Obviously, we didn’t get a goal, get

rewarded like we wanted to, but it’s something we can take into the

next game.”

The Rangers return to the Garden, where they are 27-12-2. That’s

second best in the East, behind Pittsburgh and seventh overall in

the NHL.

”We love playing at home. We love playing in front of our

fans.This building is a hostile environment for an opposing team,”

Brandon Prust said. ”Home ice advantage is huge to have.”

New York has lost its last seven overtime playoff games. The

last time the Rangers won an overtime playoff game was April 29,

2007, against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime last Saturday night.

”Obviously, we’ve lost two overtimes, but it’s not something

we’re doing that’s costing us that,” Callahan said. ”Usually,

it’s every other night you’re going right back at it. That’s a big

thing in playoffs. You can’t be too high on a win or too low on a

loss.”