Brassard, Lundqvist lead Rangers to 4-1 win over Senators
NEW YORK (AP) Struggling to get wins the last couple of weeks, the New York Rangers believe they are close to regaining their consistency.
Derick Brassard scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.
Ryan McDonagh and Jesper Fast also scored to help New York snap a two-game skid and win for the second time in seven games (2-4-1).
''It's about building confidence,'' Lundqvist said. ''The last few games we've been moving in right direction. Step by step we are building something and we are coming closer to where we need to be.''
The Rangers had an 11-0-1 stretch earlier in the season, but are 4-5-1 since.
The win was New York's first in regulation at home against Ottawa since Oct. 3, 2009.
Marc Methot scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson finished with 27 saves. Ottawa snapped a two-game win streak and lost for the third time in five games.
''It was a gallant effort,'' Senators coach Dave Cameron said. ''We just weren't good enough. ... We have to just do better.''
McDonagh and Brassard scored power-play goals in the first period. After Methot got the Senators on the board in the second, Brassard got his second goal of the game midway through the third and Fast added an empty-netter with 1:31 left.
New York led 2-1 after two periods primarily due to Lundqvist. The goalie made 12 saves in the second, including an eye-popping glove save on Dave Dziurzynski with 57 seconds left in the period.
On Methot's goal at 6:01 of the second, Lundqvist was screened by Chris Neil, who was able to get body position on Marc Staal in front of the New York goalie.
''We're just trying to get pucks deep and be smart about our energy; maximize and take advantage of our opportunities,'' the Senators' Kyle Turris said. ''We weren't able to do that.''
Lundqvist picked up where he left off in the third by making a series of saves on a flurry of shots 1:26 into the period.
''Smart and poised,'' was how Lundqvist described the Rangers' play.
He could have also been talking about himself. With the win, he tied Evgeni Nabokov for 18th place on the NHL's career wins list. He also passed Mike Richter for first place on the Rangers' all-time regulation and overtime wins list with 302.
The stops loomed large when Brassard ripped his second goal of the game past Anderson at 10:08. Brassard corralled a loose puck inside the blue line and slammed a slap shot from the left circle to extend New York's lead to 3-1.
''We made plays,'' Brassard said. ''That goal was really important.''
McDonagh and Brassard scored 5:07 apart in the first. McDonagh, who also had two assists, opened the scoring at 8:40 with his fourth of the season. His goal was also the first for a New York defenseman since he scored against Toronto on Nov. 15.
''A team like us wants to play fast, want to play quick and go north-south as quickly as possible,'' Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said when asked about the play of his defensemen. ''If it's done with the right execution it makes our whole transition a lot cleaner. We need those guys on the top of their game moving the puck, and when they do we're a good team.''
Brassard made it 2-0 when he redirected McDonagh's shot with 6:13 left in the period.
New York finished the game 2 for 2 on the power play, and killed both of Ottawa's opportunities with the man advantage.
''It was great to see us capitalize,'' McDonagh said about the team's powr play. ''A good job on our penalty-killing too because they've got some guys that can make some plays.
''It was great to see us be pretty strong in the special teams.''
NOTES: Dziurzynski got his first NHL assist on Methot's goal. ... The Senators did not have Andrew Hammond, Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips due to injury. ... New York has a 199-game sellout streak, including the playoffs.