The New York Rangers concluded their pre-Christmas slate with a pair of ugly losses. Now, they’re hoping Santa Claus brought them their mojo back, as they return to action on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (23-12-1) have given up a pair of touchdowns in their past two games, obviously not ideal for hockey schedules. Their most recent defeat came on Friday night to the Minnesota Wild, a 7-4 affair. The Rangers were done in by Minnesota’s explosive second period, where they scored five goals to take a 6-3 lead after two. Chris Kreider managed to enter double figures in goals on the year, scoring his 10th in the first and the Rangers’ final goal in the third.
Ottawa (20-11-3) enters in the thick of the Atlantic Division playoff race, energized with four consecutive victories prior to the Christmas break, defeating Anaheim 2-1 in overtime on Thursday night. Mike Hoffman scored the game winning goal in the extra period, while Ryan Dzingel got the one in regulation.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the Rangers and Senators, with Ottawa shutting out the Rangers 2-0 in a game also held at Madison Square Garden on November 27. Craig Anderson made 32 saves in the shutout victory, while Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau added the scores for the Sens.
Due to a flu-like illness from Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta will get the start tonight. Backing up Raanta will be Brandon Halvorsen, a 2014 second round pick who will be on an active NHL roster for the first time in his career.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490