Can the Struggling Rangers Hang with the Surprising Senators?

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Can the Struggling Rangers Hang with the Surprising Senators?
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Last April we saw the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators give the top-seeded New York Rangers a run for their money in their seven game Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup.

Although the Rangers ended up winning the series, there were times the Senators thoroughly out-played them; some may even say Ottawa deserved to win the series.

Fast-forward nearly a year and these two teams have picked up right where their playoff series left off, with the Senators being a major thorn in the Rangers' side. 

Thursday night will be the third meeting between these two clubs in 2013, and in the first two meetings, the Rangers have once again struggled, collecting only one of a possible four points. 

And although the Rangers have stumbled mightily this season, the Senators have faced an enormous amount of adversity, as they've played without arguably their four best players—Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek and Craig Anderson—for most of the year.

Yet they continue to roll on, proving to be a handful for not only the Rangers but all of their opponents. Despite their decimated roster, they remain in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, while the Rangers are on the edge of their seat in the eighth spot.

The question going into Thursday night is: Can the Rangers keep up with the surprising Senators, or will they flub another crucial two points to a team filled with minor leaguers?

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