It’s rare that trades pan out effectively on both sides. In Saturday afternoon’s showdown between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators, their mid-summer trade paid off on both sides.
In a game that determined little more than Ottawa’s seed, both Derek Brassard and Mika Zibanejad had goals, and the Senators clinched the second seed in the Atlantic Division bracket with a 3-1 win at Canadian Tire Center.
With their playoff spot predetermined going in, the story for the Rangers (47-28-6) remained the same as it did earlier this week against Washington on Wednesday. Henrik Lundqvist again looked sharp, making 30 saves while seven Rangers regulars, including Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Nick Holden, Marc Staal and Jesper Fast, sat out. The subs kept busy, the most notable development being Tanner Glass’s fight with Mark Borowiecki in the first period.
After a scoreless first period, Ottawa (44-27-10) scored a pair of goals in the middle frame, Mike Hoffman first scoring his 26th of the season before Brassard brought back memories for Rangers fans with his first goal since March 18. Another ex-Ranger, Viktor Stalberg, had the secondary assist.
The Senators would add one more goal in the third via Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who assisted on Hoffman’s goal. Honoroed with a video tribute and standing ovation during the game, Zibanejad scored in his return to Ottawa to prevent a shutout with 46 seconds to go in the game. With the Ottawa win, giving them home ice advantage with their quarterfinal series with either Toronto or Boston, the teams split their regular season set at two games apiece.
The Rangers finished the season with 27 wins on the road this season, most in the league and one short of their historic high, set in the 2014-15 season. They will conclude their regular season tonight at home against Pittsburgh (7:00, MSG).