OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators clinched second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday.
The Senators’ postseason opponent remains unknown at this point, but they have the luxury of resting players for Sunday’s final regular-season game against the New York Islanders.
Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson made 18 saves.
Mike Zibanejad scored for New York. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots. The Rangers have lost back-to-back games. They have clinched the top wild-card spot in the East and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs.
Pageau tipped Mark Borowiecki’s point shot into the net to make it 3-0 at 6:19 of the third period.
Zibanejad broke Anderson’s shutout bid, scoring a wraparound goal in the final minute of play.
The Senators came out flying in the second period and were rewarded with a 2-0 lead as they outshot New York 16-5.
Ottawa controlled the momentum throughout the period and took a 2-0 lead as Viktor Stalberg dropped a pass back to Brassard who beat Lundqvist stick-side.
There was no denying Brassard’s relief as he scored his first in 11 games.
The Senators opened the scoring at the three-minute mark as Hoffman beat Lundqvist from the top of the faceoff circle after the Senators had created a number of chances.
Both teams seemed to struggle in the first period as neither created many opportunities and shots were 4-4 after 20 minutes.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson missed his second game in a row and his fourth in the past six with a lower-body injury and is not expected to play in Sunday’s final regular-season game against the New York Islanders.
NOTES: Ottawa RW Chris Neil was a healthy scratch, as were C Colin White, C Chris DiDomenico and D Jyrki Jokipakka. New York’s Mika Zibanejad was making his first return to Ottawa since being traded for Derick Brassard in the summer.
Rangers: Host the Penguins on Sunday night.
Senators: Travel to Brooklyn to face the Islanders on Sunday night.
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