National Hockey League

Rangers bid to find elusive win in Ottawa

nhl3RANGERS (1-0-0) AT SENATORS (0-1-0)
7 p.m. ET; CITY, MSG, NHL.TV

If the New York Rangers are to open with two straight wins for the first time in four years, they must end their recent struggles in Ottawa.

Looking to build on a wild season-opening victory, the Rangers aim to halt a five-game road losing streak to the Senators on Saturday night.

New York’s two biggest offseason acquisitions wasted little time contributing to the cause as defenseman Jacob Trouba had a goal with two assists and Artemi Panarin recorded one of each in Thursday’s 6-4 home win over Winnipeg.

Former Senators forward Mika Zibanejad had a goal with three assists and Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves as the Rangers scored three third-period goals to rally past the Jets and win their opener for the first time in three seasons.

“Just getting (the first game of the season) over with, and kind of getting past it and being able to move on, and start thinking about the rest of the games and getting your game to where you want it to, is nice,” Trouba told the Rangers’ official website.

Where the Rangers would like to be is sitting 2-0-0 for the first time since winning their first three games of the 2015-16 season. However, while the comforts of home helped in the opener, New York has some demons to exorcise in Ottawa.

The Rangers have been outscored 18-6 while losing five straight on the road to the Senators, who also have won four of the last five overall in this series. Lundqvist has a 3.57 goals-against average in those last five against the Senators, although backup Alexandar Georgiev (14-13-4, 2.91 goals-against average in 2018-19) is a possible option to start.

Rebuilding Ottawa, which posted a combined 131 points over the past seasons, looks to get back track in its home opener following a 5-3 loss at Toronto on Wednesday.

Brady Tkachuk (22 goals in 2018-19), Bobby Ryan and Scott Sabourin each had a goal for the Senators, who led 1-0 after one period before the Maple Leafs scored four times in the second.

“I thought the guys worked hard for the most part,” D.J. Smith said following his NHL coaching debut.

“Guys fought right to buzzer. … You practice hard, practice fast, you play fast. (Toronto is) arguably one of the fastest teams in the league. In order to skate with them for 60 minutes you’ve got to skate.

“In time, we’re going to be able to move and we’re going to be able to skate. It’s a process here, but we’re going to be fine.”

Veteran Craig Anderson made 37 saves on Wednesday, and has a sparkling 1.38 goals-against average with a .954 save percentage and three shutouts while winning six of his last eight starts versus New York.

Backup Anders Nilsson is 4-1-0 with a 2.61 goals-against average against the Rangers as a starter.

Tkachuk had a goal with three assists in three games versus New York last season.

Zibanejad, who played his first five seasons with Ottawa, scored in four straight games against the Senators before being blanked in his last two meetings.

— Field Level Media

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