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Tkachuk, Tarasenko help Senators rout Rangers

Ottawa Senators Brady Tkachuk - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A 6-2 win over the best team in the National Hockey League is exactly what the Ottawa Senators needed for a confidence boost.

The Senators (10-10-0) are hopeful to build off their strong performance against the New York Rangers (18-5-1) Tuesday night as they look to climb their way out of the Eastern Conference basement.

Brady Tkachuk and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored twice and Anton Forsberg’s 33-save performance left everyone feeling pretty good.

"Obviously, it gives us confidence,” said Forsberg. “We know we can beat the best teams in the league if we play the right way, we just have to play the right way every night and be more consistent.”

Consistency has been hard to come by this season for the Senators, but with a heavy schedule this month finding their game will be key for Ottawa.

The Rangers, who came into the game with points in 17 of their last 19 (16-2-1), were far from impressed with their effort.

“Just kind of turn the page,” said Jacob Trouba. “Nobody’s dog died. We lost the game. Obviously, we didn’t like how we played. You’re going to have some games like that. I think, get some rest, and get ready to play the next one.”

Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller scored for the Rangers (18-5-1), while Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots.

The Rangers got off to a good start and dominated the play, but it was the Senators who opened the scoring when Tkachuk tipped Artem Zub’s point shot. With just under two minutes to play, Claude Giroux picked up his own rebound on a wraparound attempt.

With a goal and an assist, Giroux moved into a tie with Rod Gilbert for 90th in all-time scoring.

The second period was a high octane back and forth affair as the teams combined for five goals.

The Rangers got on the board with Panarin’s power-play goal early in the second, but Tarasenko regained the two-goal lead with his first in 13 games.

“First of all, we knew it was the best team in the league right now with the best record, I think,” said Tarasenko. “We played well and personally it’s nice to score goals. It’s been a while so I’ll try to do it more often.”

Miller got the Rangers right back in it scoring 22 seconds later.

Ottawa made it 4-2 when Drake Batherson buried a Tarasenko rebound. Blake Wheeler looked like he had a sure goal, but Jakob Chychrun batted it out of the air to help Forsberg out.

Tkachuk scored his second late in the period taking a rebound off the back boards and beat Shesterkin short side.

“There’s things we did that didn’t give ourselves the best chance at being successful,” said Rangers coach Peter Laviolette. “I think that they’re easy things to fix, but the second period was a track meet.

"I mean, it went up and down the ice at 100 miles an hour. One way going 100 is fine, but the other way, we have to have better reads and better decisions coming out of offensive zone play.”

Trailing 5-2 to start the third period, the Rangers had a great chance to get back in the game with a two-man advantage for 85 seconds but failed to capitalize. Senators fans gave the team a standing ovation for killing the penalties.

“I think we did some really good things defensively as well,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “And I think it was really good for our penalty kill to kill that 5-on-3 and get a bit of confidence.

"We gave up that one shot, but Panarin’s a heck of a player. For me, I think that’s nine good periods in a row for us and we’re starting to have a little bit of consistency.”


Ridly Greig returned to the Senators lineup after missing 10 games with a high ankle sprain. … Thomas Chabot was unable to play as he has been sent for an MRI after sustaining an injury in Saturday’s game against Seattle. … Zac Jones of the Rangers was a healthy scratch.


Senators: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night.

Rangers: Head to Washington Saturday to take on the Capitals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023.