Senators catch Rangers sleeping, win 3-0 in Ottawa on Sunday

By on January 25, 2016

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Monday, January 25, 2016, 12:12 AM

The Rangers must be tired of their reflections considering how many times a maddeningly poor performance — like Sunday afternoon’s 3-0 sleepwalk defeat to the Senators in Ottawa — has forced them to look in the mirror .

Alain Vigneault’s team wasn’t ready to play and paid for it with its fourth shutout loss of the season, snapping a two-game winning streak with only Monday night’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres remaining before the NHL All-Star break.

“Other than Hank (Henrik Lundqvist) and Quickie (forward Jesper Fast), we had so many guys that were off their game it was unbelievable,” a red-hot Vigneault told reporters at Canadian Tire Center. The head coach grew so angry he ended his postgame press conference abruptly by walking off camera in mid-sentence.

“I thought we were getting somewhere and then we come up with this tonight so thanks, I’m outta here,” Vigneault said before storming off.

STALBERG CAN REACH HAGELIN SPEED BUT MUST DO SO CONSISTENTLY

MANDATORY CREDITFred Chartrand/AP

Senators forward Bobby Ryan (c.) beats Kevin Klein to a rebound behind Henrik Lundqvist to jam home Ottawa’s first goal.

The Blueshirts (26-17-5, 57 points) didn’t even start skating until the second period. They allowed 30 Senators shot attempts in the first thanks to puck mismanagement that started with a Kevin Klein giveaway and worsened with three Dan Boyle turnovers on his first three shifts.

“We came out and turned it over three times, gave them Grade-A scoring chances right down the middle there. Geez, it’s tough to understand,” Vigneault said. “If you don’t come out and execute and play on top of your game, you get what we got tonight — you get blown out 3-0.”

Lundqvist (30 saves) kept the game scoreless early, but a Derick Brassard giveaway and a poor all-around shift from Viktor Stalberg — bumped up to Brassard’s line briefly in injured Rick Nash’s absence — set up Bobby Ryan’s goal for Ottawa with 19.9 seconds left in the second period for a 1-0 deficit after two. Ryan, of Cherry Hill, N.J., beat Klein to a rebound in the crease.

MANDATORY CREDITFred Chartrand/AP

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson holds the Rangers scoreless.

Ottawa forward Mike Hoffman ripped a wrist shot home on an odd-man rush 2:40 into the third period, after Ryan McDonagh pinched without enough defensive support from newcomer Daniel Paille. Then Jean Gabriel-Pageau rubbed it in with a long-distance empty-net goal at 17:38 after McDonagh whiffed on a pass for the offensive zone turnover.

“Certainly (I made) a bad read there at the start of the third giving up a 2-on-1, then basically giving them a free goal there giving them an empty net, that’s not something I’m very happy about,” McDonagh said.

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Senators D Mark Borowiecki (r.) skates after the puck as Rangers C Derick Brassard gives chase.Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports

Senators D Mark Borowiecki (r.) skates after the puck as Rangers C Derick Brassard gives chase.

Craig Anderson (35 saves) did not have as difficult an afternoon as his save total indicated. The Senators (23-20-6, 52 points) entered with only one regulation victory in their previous 12 games (4-8-0 with one shootout win and two OT victories) but they had no problem blanking the Rangers.

The winter weather had canceled the Rangers’ original plans to practice on Saturday, but if anyone intended to use that as an excuse, this team would be in worse shape than it even appears.

“You have to ask the guys. I take care of my own preparation,” Lundqvist told reporters. “I think it’s a mindset. You definitely have to have a good warmup. For me personally, I felt good. But obviously you have to try harder. If you ask the guys it’s definitely tougher when you don’t skate, but we had a good workout so it’s more in your head to get going and mentally prepare for the game.”

The Rangers defiantly demand that they deserve more respect than they’re getting from outsiders, but Sunday was only the latest proof that they haven’t earned it. The Rangers’ power play went 0-for-3 against the NHL’s second-worst penalty kill, falling to an unthinkable 1-for-30 in their last 11 games.

Boyle’s frequent turnovers, ineffectiveness on the power play and 10-game point drought are the latest reasons to question why rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath, 23, remains a healthy scratch. Rangers GM Jeff Gorton and Vigneault either need to play McIlrath or trade him. He has value they are not tapping.

Brassard’s invisibility, however, may be highest on the list of this team’s deficiencies. The center missed Tuesday night’s home win over Vancouver with an illness, but he was slumping prior to that and he’s done nothing in two games since. If Brassard and the Rangers’ other leaders continue playing this way, they’ll sound a lot like their coach when they say in early April: ‘Thanks, we’re outta here.’

Tags:
bobby ryan ,
mike hoffman ,
jean gabriel-pageau ,
henrik lundqvist ,
craig anderson ,
alain vigneault ,
new york rangers ,
ottawa senators ,
dylan mcilrath ,
derick brassard ,
nhl
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