Rangers explode for eight goals, double up Senators

Ottawa, ON ( - Derick Brassard recorded one of his two goals during a second-period barrage that carried the New York Rangers to an 8-4 throttling of the Ottawa Senators.

Benoit Pouliot, John Moore and Ryan McDonagh also tallied during a middle session in which the Rangers outscored Ottawa by a 4-0 margin en route to handing the spiraling Senators a fourth straight loss.

Rick Nash also lit the lamp twice in New York's highest scoring output of the season, with Brassard adding an assist and Henrik Lundqvist coming up with 35 saves.

"That certainly was not a defensive masterpiece, but we'll take the two points," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.

Both Ottawa goaltenders struggled, with starter Robin Lehner stopping just 23- of-28 shots on the night and Nathan Lawson making 10-of-12 saves in the third period before exiting with an injury.

Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan all had goals for the Senators.

"I think we're generating some offense but, again, we're turning over the puck and putting our goalie in a tough spot and they haven't been able to make the save," said Senators coach Paul MacLean. "We have to work to get open, we have to play for one another and we have to find them when they're open."

New York trailed 2-1 prior to its offensive outburst in the second period, which began when Brassard raced into the slot to jam a well-placed behind-the- net pass from Carl Hagelin through Lehner's pads nearly nine minutes into the frame.

The Rangers then scored three more times within a span of just over four minutes to break things open.

A bad clearing pass from the Senators' Chris Phillips resulted in Pouliot's successful roofer into the top left corner that put the Rangers ahead with 4:12 remaining in the period. Lehner couldn't pick up Moore's knuckler from the left boards shortly afterward, and McDonagh made it a 5-2 lead when his long drive struck the skate of Ryan and found its way through 15.3 seconds prior to the intermission.

Michalek brought Ottawa within two by beating Lundqvist stick-side with a wrister 1:17 into the third, but the Rangers' Mats Zuccarello intercepted another ill-advised pass from Phillips before setting up Stepan just 73 seconds later to extend New York's advantage to 6-3.

The Rangers struck again just over two minutes after Stepan's score, with Brassard delivering the dagger by finishing a 3-on-2 rush with Zuccarello and Martin St. Louis.

Ryan got Ottawa's final marker on a re-direction of Eric Gryba's shot at the 7:11 mark of the third, with Nash capping the scoring with an easy empty- netter that came off yet another Senators' turnover.

Hoffman staked the Senators an early edge by rocketing a one-timer past Lundqvist with 6:57 elapsed in the contest, and Hagelin was called for hooking just eight seconds later to give Ottawa a power play.

However, Nash stole a puck mishandled by Hoffman and went on a breakaway in which he placed a shot underneath Lehner to knot the score at 1-1.

The Senators were able to cash in on their next man-advantage opportunity, as Jason Spezza found a cutting Zibanejad for a successful riser with 7:16 left in the first.

Game Notes

The Rangers had scored seven goals in a game twice this season, a 7-1 rout at Toronto on Jan. 4 and a 7-3 triumph at New Jersey on Jan. 26 ... New York has outscored the Sens by a 12-5 margin in winning both matchups between the teams this season. Ottawa had taken five straight in the regular-season series prior to its 4-1 loss to the Blueshirts on Jan. 18 ... Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson assisted on Zibanejad's goal and now has five helpers over his last four games.