Sen­a­tors look to cre­ate more traf­fic around Rangers goal­tender in Game 5

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY DE­NIS P. GOR­MAN

Wreak havoc. That was Dion Pha­neuf’s so­lu­tion for the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors’ sput­ter­ing of­fence head­ing into Game 5 of their play­off se­ries with the New York Rangers.

“We do have to do a bet­ter job of cre­at­ing some more around their net,’’ the de­fence­man said Fri­day be­fore the team headed home to Ot­tawa for Satur­day af­ter­noon’s game.

After win­ning Games 1 and 2 at home, the Sen­a­tors dropped the next two at Madi­son Square Garden, where they were outscored 8-2. With the ex­cep­tion of Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who has five of Ot­tawa’s 10 goals in the se­ries, the Sen­a­tors have strug­gled to beat star goalie Hen­rik Lundqvist.

Through the first four games, Lundqvist has a .921 save per­cent­age and has stopped 117 of 127 shots. The veteran Swede has yielded just 21 goals on 333 shots through 10 play­off games this sea­son.

“Their goalie has been play­ing very well,’’ Pha­neuf said. “As he has all year. As he has for his whole ca­reer. The big­gest thing with him — like other top goalies — you have to get traf­fic on him. We seem to have been get­ting chances but we haven’t been get­ting sec­ond chances. That’s when we’re ef­fec­tive around the net is when we get sec­ond chances or screened shots (or) tips.’’

And it’s not just the for­wards who need to step up, Pha­neuf said.

“Us as (de­fence­men) have to do a bet­ter job of get­ting pucks through,’’ he said. “We’re get­ting too many pucks blocked. Give them credit, they block a lot of shots. They do a good job of block­ing shots. But we have to find a way to get more pucks on him and get some traf­fic and some re­bound goals. Be­cause we’re ca­pa­ble of scor­ing and we have to do a bet­ter job of it.’’

Sen­a­tors coach Guy Boucher pointed to New York’s de­fen­sive struc­ture as a rea­son for the Sen­a­tors’ lack of

of­fence in Game 4.

“I find they played well de­fen­sively,’’ Boucher said. “They had num­bers back the whole night. They re­spected our speed. They took away our 2-on-1s and break­aways. And so we have to man­u­fac­ture more of­fence out of no space. And that’s what the play­offs are: A no-space game.’’

By com­par­i­son, New York has eight skaters who have scored in the se­ries. Fourth-line cen­tre Oscar Lind­berg leads the Rangers with three goals, all com­ing in the last two games. He is fol­lowed by Brady Sk­jei, Chris Krei­der and Michael Grab­ner, who have scored twice, while

Ryan McDon­agh, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuc­carello and Nick Holden each have a goal.

“We have to have four lines that can play,’’ Alain Vigneault said after Game 4. “If you ex­pect to win you’re go­ing to need con­tri­bu­tions from your whole team.’’

The sta­tus of Sen­a­tors cap­tain Erik Karls­son is a con­cern after he sat out the third pe­riod of Thurs­day’s 4-1 loss. The all­star de­fence­man, who is play­ing with two hair­line frac­tures in his left heel, fell awk­wardly late in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Boucher sug­gested Karls­son would be back Satur­day.


New York Rangers goalie Hen­rik Lundqvist (30) breaks up a shot by Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) dur­ing the third pe­riod of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stan­ley Cup sec­ond-round play­off se­ries Thurs­day in New York. The Rangers won 4-1.

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