(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging New York Rangers will aim for fifth win in six games when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire Centre.
In addition to winning four of five outings, New York is boasting a 9-3-1 record over its last 13 games. The recent hot stretch has pushed the Rangers into a tie with Philadelphia for second place in the Atlantic Division. The top three teams in each division get an automatic berth to the postseason.
Henrik Lundqvist was the star for the Blueshirts in a 1-0 win Thursday over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Lundqvist came out on top of a goaltending duel with Jimmy Howard and Mats Zuccarello scored the game's only goal with 5:58 remaining in the third period.
Lundqvist turned away 38 shots in delivering his third shutout of the season and just getting the better of Howard, who returned from a hip flexor injury to stop 47-of-48 shots in a hard-luck defeat.
"Both guys, both Hank and Howard, had their A-game out there," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "They were seeing the puck and controlling their rebounds. We were just fortunate to finally be able to put one past (Howard)."
The Rangers finally got one past the Detroit netminder on their 45th chance of the game. Skating in on a 3-on-2 rush, Zuccarello attempted a pass across the crease that was deflected by Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff and caromed underneath Howard's right arm, breaking the scoreless stalemate in the 55th minute of play.
"It was one of those (games) where a typical goal like that was going to decide the game," said Zuccarello, who is tied for the team lead this season with 12 goals.
The close win helped New York wrap a four-game homestand with a 3-1-0 record and improved the club's season mark at Madison Square Garden to 11-11-3. The Rangers, who are 14-10-0 on the road, will only be away from the Garden for one game, as they're set to begin a three-game homestand tomorrow evening against Washington.
Cam Talbot will start in net for the Rangers today and Lundqvist will get the call Sunday against the Caps.
The Senators had a two-game win streak halted Thursday by visiting Montreal. but the overtime setback did extend Ottawa's point streak to eight games (6-0-2). The Sens overcame an early 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but P.K. Subban's goal 23 seconds into the extra session lifted the Canadiens to a 5-4 triumph in Canada's capital city.
Erik Karlsson registered a goal and two assists for the Senators, who also had a four-game home winning streak snapped.
Ottawa had won four straight at home and was back at Canadian Tire Centre after a 3-0-1 road trip. The Sens are 11-10-5 on home ice this season and will head out for four straight on the road after this afternoon's contest.
Craig Anderson surrendered all five goals on just 23 shots in the loss.
Ottawa trailed 3-0 in the first period, but was able to cut the deficit to one by the end of 20 minutes and the Sens held a 4-3 edge heading into the third period. However, Montreal tied the game on a Tomas Plekanec goal with 8:58 left in the third and Subban beat Anderson from the right circle to end the contest early in the extra session.
"I thought we played the third period a little timid again and didn't establish our game and establish a forecheck," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean.
Today's game marks the first of three meetings between the Rangers and Sens this season. Ottawa has claimed five straight overall against New York in the regular-season series and has taken the last three tilts in Ottawa.