If you absolutely must play a team that's won fourteen out of sixteen games, you might as well play them after a two-week break that destroys whatever momentum they've been building. That's what the Rangers did last night, running Senators goaltender Brian Elliott in the second period and coming away with a 4–1 victory, despite playing without their top-scoring forward (Marian Gaborik) or their top-scoring defenseman (Michael Del Zotto).
The Rangers sealed this one late in the second period when they exploded for three goals in just over two minutes. And how they scored those goals was encouraging: They crashed the Ottawa net, creating traffic and capitalizing on rebounds. Ryan Callahan's goal earlier in the period was a goal-scorer's goal: a pretty one-on-one move to get past the Ottawa defenseman and a perfect shot that literally got stuck in the top of the net. But the three goals toward the end of the period are easier to repeat.
Next up for the Rangers are Olympic hero Sidney Crosby and the Penguins tomorrow night at the Garden. This seems like a good place to mention what happened during last night's national anthems. From the AP:
A highlight package of various Canadian Olympic successes was shown on the video scoreboard during the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner prior to the game. Images of Sidney Crosby's overtime goal in Canada's gold medal win over the U.S. in the men's final drew cheers.
A Senators spokesman said the timing of the video was a technical mistake. And while we'd love to think it inspired Callahan, who played for Team USA, to score twice last night, that apparently wasn't the case. Said Callahan: "I didn't see it." Adding, "When the anthems are on I'm looking at the flags."