Senators score 3 goals in team-record 52 seconds, beat Rangers 3-1
NEW YORK – For the Ottawa Senators, it was just a matter of time.
They peppered Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist throughout the first half of the game and waited for the effort would pay off.
It did, and then again, and then once more — all in a New York minute … well, in a team-record 52 seconds to be exact.
Dany Heatley scored the first of Ottawa’s record-setting three goals in under a minute of the second period Saturday night, and Martin Gerber made 36 saves to lift the Senators to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers.
“In the first period, we were all over them and he made some big saves,” Heatley said of Lundqvist, who made 20 saves before the spurt. “It’s kind of funny that we scored three that quickly but we felt that once we got one, more were going to come. And they did.”
Chris Phillips and Patrick Eaves followed Heatley by scoring in an overpowering minute for the Senators, who won for the sixth time in seven games this season — including two victories over the Rangers in a week.
The Senators, who reached the Stanley Cup finals for the first time last season, stressed getting off to a good start with seven games in 11 days. They won their first five and quickly recovered from their first loss of the season on Thursday.
“Good teams always bounce back right away,” Gerber said. “It looks easy but it’s very tough to do. You’re allowed to lose once in a while but then you have to go right back at it.”
Now they play only three times in 10 days.
“You’re going to lose games in the NHL. You don’t want to lose two in a row,” Heatley said. “With the layoff coming up, we wanted to really go out on a good note. And we did.”
Gerber wasn’t tested much until the midpoint of the third period when the Rangers pressed during a 5-on-3 advantage. Gerber denied Brendan Shanahan at the left post, off a feed from Scott Gomez, and then stopped Gomez from at the right post.
He even threw the puck to center ice to escape trouble. Gerber’s bid for his eighth NHL shutout was spoiled with 1:09 left on Jaromir Jagr’s first of the season and 100th with the Rangers (2-3).
“There’s a highlight reel in itself, some of those saves,” Heatley said. “It’s a shame that they got a little lucky one at the end on him. He deserved a shutout.”
Gerber is 6-1 against the Rangers, allowing only 11 goals in the process. Counting his 35-save, 2-0 victory last Saturday in Ottawa, Gerber has stopped all but one of the 72 New York shots he faced this season.
Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves for the Rangers, who have dropped three of four.
“You can’t kid yourself into wins,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “We practice hard, we prepare well, we do all of those things but it seems right now we’re looking for that game traction.”
The game turned quickly just over a minute into Chris Drury’s delay-of-game penalty, the second called against New York in the second period.
Heatley wrapped the puck around the boards behind the net to the right-side wall. Andrej Meszaros chipped a pass out to Jason Spezza, who moved it to Heatley for his sixth goal of the season at 8:23.
The goal announcement hadn’t been made by the time Phillips made it 2-0 only 17 seconds later.
The agitated crowd was still voicing its displeasure when Rangers defenseman Marek Malik, a favorite target of Madison Square Garden boobirds, gave the fans plenty to crow about.
Malik fumbled the puck at the left point in the Ottawa zone and lost it to Eaves. Racing with Antoine Vermette on a 2-on-1 break, Eaves loaded up and beat Lundqvist with a hard drive to complete the scoring barrage at 9:15.
The defending Eastern Conference champions have won five straight from New York, 11 of 13, and 15 of 18, dating to the 2002-03 season.
Unlike the first period Friday against Washington, the Rangers couldn’t grab control. New York was outshot 15-7 and was kept in a scoreless tie by Lundqvist, in goal for the third game in four nights.
New York broke out of its power-play drought with three man-advantage goals in the opening period of Friday’s 3-1 victory, but went 0-for-6 Saturday. The Rangers are 3-for-29 this season.
“I don’t think the pressure from outside is more than the pressure we put on ourselves in here,” said Shanahan, who recorded 13 shots. “We just haven’t scored a lot of goals, even though we’ve been playing better.”
Notes: Jagr played his 200th game with the Rangers. … The Senators scored three goals in 1:16 against the New York Islanders on March 15.