Rangers explode with seven unanswered goals to defeat Senators

NHL: New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers, who had lost four of their past five games, got down early against the scrappy Ottawa Senators, only to rattle off five straight goals in the second period to head into the All-Star break with a 7-2 win.

After Jonathan Quick, who finished with 29 saves, allowed two early goals in the first period, the Rangers rallied in the second with lamplighters from Alexis Lafreniere, Chris Kreider, Zac Jones, Jonny Brodzinski and Blake Wheeler.

Meanwhile, Artemi Panarin fired home his 30th of the season with an empty netter, and Kaapo Kakko added a late one in the final two minutes.

The Rangers chased Senators’ netminder Joonas Korpisalo in the middle frame, ending his night after 31:11 with a .765 save percentage and just 13 saves. In his place, Mads Sogaard held the Rangers to two goals on 11 shots.

Panarin had a goal and two assists, while Mika Zibanejad, Kreider, Lafreinere, Brodzinski, and Jones each had two points. Overall, 12 different Rangers collected points in the victory, which sends them into their break on a high note after a miserable stretch of hockey.

“I just like the resiliency tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Fighting back and eventually got the lead to get up on it.”

Related: Jacob Trouba suspended

New York Rangers 7 Ottawa Senators 2

NHL: New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Senators captain Brady Tkachuk got the home team on the board at 11:43 of the first period, skating through the slot untouched after a K’Andre Miller turnover. At the beginning of the second, Jakob Chychrun extended Ottawa’s lead with a power-play tally at 1:24 when he fired a shot that snuck under Quick’s left pad.

However, that was the final time the Senators would light the lamp against the Rangers, who got on the board with Lafreniere’s 11th of the season when he batted a loose puck off the back of Korpisalo’s pads to spark the comeback at 5:51. Assists on the play went to Panarin and Adam Fox.

A few minutes later, at 8:33, Kreider tied the contest 2-2 with a set play off a faceoff win in the defensive zone. Once Zibanejad won the draw, he sprung his linemate down the ice, who out-skated Chychurn to a loose puck and fired it home on the glove side past a surprised Korpisalo.

“We know how it’s been going lately,” Zibanejad explained. “There was some big time plays from the guys even before the goals. We wanted to win before the break and we knew we had to fight for it.”

Jones gave New York their first lead of the game just 39 seconds later, finishing off a beautiful feed from Panarin on two-on-one, with the play set up by Vincent Trocheck. The goal was the 23-year-old’s first of the season in his 16th game.

At 11:16, Korpisalo was chased from the net when Brodzinski tipped home his second of the season, with helpers going to Jones and Will Cuylle. However, the Rangers were not done scoring in the period, beating Sogaard at 16:54 when Blake Wheeler scored for the second time in the past two games thanks to a Zibanejad and Kreider setup.

After the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers became the second team to score five goals in a single period this season.

Once Ottawa pulled Sogaard with four and half minutes left, Panarin collected his team-leading 30th goal, which is two shy off his NHL career best, at 17:17 with a Lafreniere assist. Then, with teams skating five-on-five again, Kakko ended the scoring at 17:52 thanks to a setup from Brodzinski and Erik Gustafsson.

New York was missing two regular defenseman in Jacob Trouba (two-game suspension) and Ryan Lindgren (upper-body injury). Their replacements stepped up in a big way, with Jones netting the game-winner and Connor Mackey stepping up to fight Tkachuk.

“On the bench, ‘Lavi’ told the guys to get more physical,” Mackey revealed. “I hit [Tim] Stutzle and Brady asked me to go. I wasn’t going to turn it down. Hopefully, it got the boys going.”

Rangers Notes

  • Panarin has a team-leading 66 points heading into the break
  • Zibanejad registered his 500th career point with the Rangers
  • New York is 9-0-0 on the second game of a back-to-back this season
  • The Rangers are 11-0-0 when Lafreniere scores a goal
  • Three out of the four lines found the scoresheet
  • New York scored seven goals for the second time this year

This was the last game for the Rangers before the NHL All-Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 3. New York returns to action on Monday, Feb. 5, when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.

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