Monday, February 26, 2001

NEW YORK (TICKER) -- As the standings show, the Ottawa Senators are too much for the New York Rangers.

Playing in front of one of the league's unsung goaltenders, the Eastern Conference-leading Senators erased a pair of deficits and remained red-hot with a 3-2 victory over the fading Rangers.

Patrick Lalime made 30 saves and watched Todd White and Daniel Alfredsson score in the final eight minutes as Ottawa picked up its third straight win and seventh in eight games.

New York had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but dropped its third straight game and remained nine points behind Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East and 27 off Ottawa's pace.

"Tonight was a big game for us," Senators center Alexei Yashin said. "They really came to play, but for us to mature and take our game to the next level, it is important for us to win the games that we're expected to win."

Jason York also scored for the Senators, who are four points ahead of Philadelphia for the best record in the East. They are 10 better than Buffalo for first place in the Northeast Division.

One of the reasons for Ottawa's success has been the play of Lalime, who added to a career high and franchise record with his 26th win of the season.

Ottawa trailed late in the first period and midway through the third but finally wore down New York and goalie Kirk McLean, who faced 42 shots while playing on back-to-back nights for the first time this season.

"You could tell that they have a team that maybe doesn't have the confidence we have," Alfredsson said. "Even being down in third period, we had the confidence that if we stuck to doing what we know how to do we'd be all right."

Starting for the injured Mike Richter, McLean stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period and entered the locker room with a 1-0 lead. He finished with a season-high 39 saves but dropped to 5-7-1.

"Kirk had a monster game for us," Rangers coach Ron Low said. "In the second period, he was unbelieveable."

With the Rangers controlling play in the first, Messier took a breakout pass from Theo Fleury and beat Lalime with a snap shot from the left faceoff circle for his 20th goal and a 1-0 lead with 1:32 to play.

New York scored first for the eighth straight game but gave back the goal 71 seconds into the second period, when York shorthopped a wrist shot past McLean from the right point.

York's sixth goal was the only one of a dominating second period for Ottawa, which held a 20-10 advantage in shots.

It could have been worse for the Rangers, who killed off a two-man disadvantage of 29 seconds and watched the Senators hit a pair of goalposts.

New York had a chance to tie with a power play of its own in the closing seconds of the second, but Lalime stopped all five shots during a late flurry.

"We get frustrated when we don't score after we generate chances, especially when Kirk has been playing so well," New York defenseman Brian Leetch said.

After the pace slowed in the first 10 minutes of the third period, Mike York gave the Rangers their second lead of the game with 8:47 to play.

Valeri Kamensky threw a pass from the left corner to the low slot, where York was able to poke his 13th goal between Lalime's left skate and the right post.

But the Senators needed only 71 seconds to tie it. Andreas Dackell forced Leetch into a turnover to the left of McLean. White ended up with the puck behind the net and scored on a wraparound at the left post.

"I didn't even know he was there," McLean said. "Guys were battling out front and I looked around and he just jammed it in the net before I could get my skate over there."

A native of Ottawa, White had not scored since February 24, 2000, when he was with Philadelphia. He has eight goals in 50 NHL games, playing four with the Senators.

"It kind of gave us a lift," Senators coach Jacques Martin said. "When you get a goal from a role player, it helps a lot."

The Rangers got burned by a role player for the second straight night. Mark Greig had a goal and an assist in his fourth game of the season on Sunday, helping the Flyers to a 2-1 win.

McLean made a big save on Yashin with 3:39 left, but Alfredsson won a battle for the puck in the right corner and got it to the point. He ended up with a rebound near the left hashmark and roofed the puck over McLean for his 16th goal and a 3-2 lead.

"We would like to have started better, but they came out really strong," Alfredsson said. "We remained patient."

"It might be that we ran out of gas," Low said. "But when you have the lead, you have to protect it better than that."

The Rangers pulled McLean in the final minute but could not pressure Lalime. They left the Madison Square Garden ice to a chorus of boos as they are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

"We've been in the desperation stage for a long time," Leetch said. "Games just keep slipping away and we're a long way from the eighth playoff spot."

York and Yashin had assists for the Senators (36-16-8-2), who are just eight wins and 21 points off franchise records set during the 1998-99 season. They have 20 games remaining.

 Ottawa                0 1 2--3    
 NY Rangers            1 0 1--2    

FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, NY Rangers, Messier 20 (Fleury, Kloucek),
18:28. Penalties: York, Ott (tripping), 15:27; Hlavac, Nyr (holding),

SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 2, Ottawa, York 6 (power play) (Phillips,
Hossa), 1:11. Penalties: Ulmer, Nyr (tripping), 6:36; Messier, Nyr
(elbowing), 8:07; Mceachern, Ott (tripping), 18:02. 

THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 3, NY Rangers, York 13 (Kamensky, Lefebvre),
11:13. 4, Ottawa, White 1 (Dackell, York), 12:24. 5, Ottawa, Alfredsson 16
(Yashin, Rachunek), 16:49.  

Shots on goal:
 Ottawa                11 20 11--42 
 NY Rangers            12 10 10--32 

Power-play Conversions: Ott - 1 of 3, Nyr - 0 of 2.  Goalies: Ottawa,
Lalime (32 shots, 30 saves; record: 26-14-4). NY Rangers, K Mclean (42,
39; record: 5-7-1).  A:18,200.  Referees: Faucette, Joannette. Linesmen: S
Provost, Racicot.


Ottawa                                NY Rangers
               G   A   +/-  Shots                    G   A   +/-  Shots
Alfredsson     1   0   +1     7       Dvorak         0   0   -1     2
Arvedson       0   0   even   1       Fleury         0   1   +1     5
Bonk           0   0   even   2       Graves         0   0   +1     1
Dackell        0   1   +1     1       Gusarov        0   0   +1     0
Fisher         0   0   -2     2       Hlavac         0   0   -1     3
Forbes         0   0   +1     0       Johnsson       0   0   -1     0
Havlat         0   0   -2     1       Kamensky       0   1   +1     2
Hnidy          0   0   -1     1       Kloucek        0   1   even   1
Hossa          0   1   even   5       Leetch         0   0   -1     2
Mceachern      0   0   +1     1       Lefebvre       0   1   +1     0
Persson        0   0   -1     2       M Malhotra     0   0   -1     0
Phillips       0   1   even   0       Mccarthy       0   0   +1     1
Rachunek       0   1   +1     2       Messier        1   0   +1     4
Redden         0   0   +1     4       Nedved         0   0   -1     4
White        1   0  +1    2       Pilon         0   0   even   0
Yashin         0   1   +1     5       Toms           0   0   -1     0
York           1   1   even   4       Ulmer          0   0   -1     1
Zamuner        0   0   -2     2       York           1   0   +1     6
Rivers         Healthy                Lacroix        Healthy
Emmons         Concussion             Purinton       Healthy
Roy            Suspended Nhl
This page was last revised: February 26, 2001