OTTAWA (AP) — Sinking in the standings and struggling to score, the Ottawa Senators might be happy to see the New York Rangers for the second time in four days.

The Senators look for a repeat performance against the Rangers as they seek a badly needed victory at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night.

Ottawa (12-15-4) has managed 17 goals during a 3-8-1 stretch, scoring one or none eight times in that span. The Senators have totaled five goals while going 1-3-1 in their last five contests.

The only win came Sunday against New York, as Chris Kelly recorded his first career hat trick in a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden that denied the Rangers a third straight win.

Predictably, Ottawa couldn’t carry over the momentum, falling 4-1 to Montreal on Monday. The game was tied going into the third period before the Canadiens dominated the final 20 minutes.

The Senators scored on their only power-play opportunity, marking the third straight game they had just one chance with the man advantage. They’re 4 for 30 on the power play in the last 14 games.

“The biggest thing for us, we’ve got to get the offense going,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has gone 10 games without a goal and hasn’t recorded a point in his last eight. “We’re not far off, but for us to win more games we’ve obviously got to score more goals.”

That’s certainly the case at home, where Ottawa has been shut out in two straight games and has one goal in the last three – all losses. The Senators haven’t dropped four straight at home since the end of the 2007-08 season.

They’ve had their share of problems on home ice against the Rangers recently, losing three straight meetings there while totaling two goals.

They’ll be facing a Rangers team that has been off since the loss Sunday. New York (16-12-1) came into the contest with six wins in the previous eight games.

“Our guys were asleep the first 20 minutes,” said coach John Tortorella, who was irked that his club couldn’t take advantage of a struggling team that had played the previous night.

Lackluster play hasn’t been a problem on the road for Tortorella’s team, though. New York has won three in a row away from MSG to improve to 10-4-0 in away games – tying it for the most road victories in the NHL.

Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves Sunday and will likely be back in net looking to improve his 1.98 goals-against average versus the Senators. While Lundqvist is 8-11-0 against Ottawa, he’s won four straight at Scotiabank Place with a 0.98 GAA.

The Rangers also are likely to have 20-year-old center Derek Stepan skating with top forward Marian Gaborik, who had a hat trick against the Islanders last Thursday but has gone without a point in two games since. Tortorella has had trouble finding the right combination of linemates for the inconsistent Gaborik, who scored 42 goals last season but has eight in 2010-11.

“It’s a special thing for me because there aren’t many guys in the league as good offensively as Gaby,” Stepan told the team’s official website. “Me and Gaby have a little connection, too. We always seem to play well together. One of the big parts of my game is making passes and it’s easier with him because he seems to find the right ice. I seem to find him quickly. We’ll see how it goes.”

© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.


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