The Ottawa Senators have finally found a winning game plan.
Anders Nilsson made 30 saves as the Senators beat the New York Rangers 4-1 on Friday night for Ottawa’s first three-game win streak of the season. The Senators have won seven of their last nine and are .500 for the first time this campaign.
“I think we’re playing some really good hockey,” said Anders Nilsson, who stopped 30 shots. “You saw the way we played (Friday) and especially the way we played in the first period. We came out and had one of the best periods all year in the first and shut them down completely.”
Nilsson has won his last four starts at home allowing just five goals through that stretch.
Thomas Chabot had a goal and an assist for the Senators (11-11-1), while Logan Brown, Tyler Ennis and Anthony Duclair also scored.
Jacob Trouba scored the lone goal for the Rangers (9-9-2), while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots.
Lundqvist will have to wait until Saturday to try and move into fifth place for career wins in NHL history. Lundqvist’s 454 wins has him tied with Curtis Joseph.
The Rangers have been going through their own struggles and Lundqvist admitted New York could take a page from the Senators’ playbook.
“They work hard and that’s why they’ve been winning,” Lundqvist said. “If you look at their record the last few weeks they win because they work really hard and pay attention to the details within their game. They earn their wins.”
Ennis gave the Senators a 3-1 lead as he fought his way to the net and beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot in the opening minutes of the second.
The Rangers had a great opportunity to get back in the game midway through the second when Christian Jaros was assessed a double minor for high sticking, but failed to take advantage.
“An abysmal game in so many ways,” said New York head coach David Quinn. “Give Ottawa a lot of credit. They played hard, they played smart, they won every foot race and they won every one-on-one battle.
“This is as disappointing as it’s been because I thought we were going in the right direction and building off a couple real good ones for us, but it’s back to square one.”
The Rangers then got into penalty trouble, giving Ottawa a two-man advantage. Lundqvist made three big saves, but was then beat by Duclair.
The Senators had a second two-man advantage, but were unable to beat Lundqvist.
Chabot opened scoring for Ottawa just 57 seconds into the game for his first goal in 17 games.
The Senators took a 2-0 lead at the six-minute mark with a power-play goal by Brown, for his first career NHL goal.
Brown, who was playing his 15th career game, was excited to finally get his first goal out of the way and was thrilled it held up as the game winner.
“That’s something I’ve dreamt about my whole life,” said Brown. “Especially the past couple weeks with all the unlucky bounces I’ve had. I’ve been thinking about getting that one.”
Trouba’s shot from inside the blueline took a bounce that fooled Nilsson to cut that lead in half with just under three minutes remaining in the first period.
This was the third and final meeting between the two teams this. The Senators play seven of their next eight games on the road.