The New York Rangers' four-game winning streak came to an end on Friday night after a 3-2 loss against the Senators. The Rangers found themselves down by two goals in the first period, but came back to tie it after goals by Rick Nash and Brad Richards.
Perhaps tired from the overtime game against the New York Islanders on Saturday, the Rangers let their guard down in the third period. The Senators scored the winning goal five minutes before the end of the game and created some separation between themselves and the Rangers in the standings.
However, things are looking up for the Rangers, as they have won four out of their last five since their infamous four game losing streak, and they are finally on solid footing with regards to the playoffs.
The Rangers have taken control of the No. 8 spot, and they are only one point behind the New Jersey Devils, who have played one game more than the Blueshirts.
The next step for New York is a four-game road trip, which could prove to be quite a challenge considering that the Rangers are only 3-4-1 on the road this season.
Here are some of the takeaways from the game against Ottawa.
Rick Nash continues to thrive
Rick Nash had a rough start to his Rangers career, as he scored only one goal in his first six games. For someone who was brought to New York based on his ability to put up 60-plus points a season, that was unacceptable.
But lately, Nash has been nothing short of spectacular. Heading into Friday's game, he had eight points in the last four games ,and he continued his streak against the Senators.
Midway through the first period, he scored the Rangers' first goal of the night. This was Nash's first goal for the Rangers that did not come in the third period.
All the Rangers’ 12 victories have come with Nash on the ice. This is only highlighted by the Rangers’ four-game losing streak at the end of February when Nash was sidelined with an injury.
Lundqvist loses goaltender battle to fellow Swede
Henrik Lundqvist came off a masterful performance against the New York Islanders where he saved 28 out of 29 shots in the Rangers’ 2-1 win.
Against the Senators, he had another great outing, but his countryman Robin Lehner overshadowed him. Lundqvist finished with 36 saves on 39 shots, while Lehner, who is only 21 years old, had 33 saves on 35 shots.
One can only speculate if defenseman Marc Staal, who was out with an injury, would have provided the Rangers with some of the defensive fibers they would have needed to keep the Senators at bay.
Brad Richards shows signs of promise
There were several question marks surrounding Brad Richards heading into this game. He had missed the last two games with injuries, and perhaps more disconcerting, he had not scored a goal since January 26 nor put up no more than seven points in all of February.
Richard’s goal against the Senators is hopefully proof that he is getting back into shape.
If the Rangers can get Richards going, then suddenly the team is looking like a Stanley Cup contender again.