Sluggish Start leads to Rangers 3-1 loss to Ottawa

New York, NY - The New York Rangers (16-12-1) missed out on their opportunity to defeat the Ottawa Senators (12-14-2) in what was a tough 3-1 loss in hockey action on Sunday evening. Senators center Chris Kelly hat trick was all the Senators needed to get a victory over the Blueshirts.

Kelly began his hat trick by netting a shorthanded goal at the 4:27 mark of the second period. The center netted a 15 foot wrister that went past Rangers keeper Henrik Lundqvist to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Senators. Brandon Prust (3) then responded with a shorthanded goal of his own at the 10:50 mark. Prust who netted a 20 foot wrist shot that tied the two teams up at 1-1.

The Rangers had a flurry of opportunities as at the 13:07 mark of the second period Marc Staal tried to tip-in the second Blueshirts goal, but Ottawa keeper Pascal Leclaire was able to make the save. At the 13:58 mark Mike Sauer also had a shot for the Rangers as he let go of a 58 foot wrist shot, but sadly for the 18,200 in attendance that shot just went wide. Neither team could cash in on their offensive opportunities as the two teams skated into the locker room at the end of the second period tied at 1-1.

As the third period began the chants of Lets Go Rangers rained down from the rafters of Madison Square Garden as the Blueshirt faithful was trying to will their team to victory. It had seemed as if the energy may pay off as Brandon Dubinsky had a 19 foot snapshot, but sadly for those in attendance Leclaire was able to stick his pad out to make the save.

The Blueshirts still tried to keep their offensive momentum going by trying a myriad of shots, with one of the better shot opportunities coming from Brian Boyle at the 14:23 mark, but the shot just went over the net. Then the energy and the air went out of Madison Square Garden as Kelly netted his second goal of the game, recording a 12 foot wrist shot at the 17:36 mark to give the Senators the 2-1 lead.

Marian Gaborik would have an opportunity to tie the two teams up at the 19:23 mark of the third period, but could not cash in as his 16 foot snap shot went wide of the net. Kelly (6) would then tally his hat trick at the 19:59 mark of the third period netting an empty net goal to give the Senators the 3-1 lead and eventually the victory.

Leclaire who finished the night with 25 saves was named to the first star of the game, while on the other side of the ice Lundqvist who was the third star of the game made 22 saves.

These two teams will face-off again as the Rangers will look to have a better start on Thursday night as they will head to Ottawa for a 7:30 p.m. rematch.

Charity Note: On Tuesday December 7, 2010 the New York Rangers will be holding their 17th Annual Toy Drive as the Blueshirts will team up with Toys for Toys program. The collection which will take place in the Theater Lobby at Madison Square Garden from 4-7 p.m. Expected to be on hand to provide photos and autograph opportunities will be Blueshirt great Adam Graves as well as several current Rangers.