OTTAWA – No one expected Brian Elliott to be Henrik Lundqvist, but it might have helped the Ottawa Senators if he was.
Lundqvist made 33 saves as the Senators fell 2-0 to the New York Rangers on Saturday, and his shutout spoiled the debut of Elliott who was making just his second start in the NHL and first this year. And with the Senators back home following a 1-6-1 road trip, Elliot was given a shot with the big club.
Elliott played well but anything less than perfection was futile as the Senators (13-21-6) were shutout for the fourth time this season.
“I felt I was seeing the puck pretty well and the guys were keeping the shots from outside. I did not too bad but obviously you want to be perfect but it’s not a perfect world,” Elliott said.
“I tried my hardest out there and hopefully we can get on a winning streak here at home and obviously I want to be a part of that.”
Brandon Dubinsky scored in the first period for the Rangers (25-15-4) and Lauri Korpikoski added an insurance goal in the third to account for the scoring.
It was Lundqvist’s second shutout of the season and 19th of his career.
Elliott made 25 saves, including one off Petr Prucha on a breakaway early in the third period.
But shortly thereafter, Elliott wasn’t tight enough against the post and a quick shot from Korpikoski slipped through at 5:22 to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
“He was good,” Senators coach Craig Hartsburg said of Elliott.
“That first goal was a bit of a scramble and some confusion around the net and the second one was a real good shot.”
Dubinsky scored the game’s first goal when a rebound bounced off Korpikoski’s chest right to Dubinsky at the side of the net. Dubinsky swatted the puck past Elliott at 15:09 of the first period for his first goal in 20 games.
“It’s been a struggle for me to score goals. I’ve had chances and felt like I was playing well and making good shots but they weren’t going in for me. To have a gift like that is nice and hopefully the floodgates will open they’ll start going in a little more now,” Dubinsky said.
The Senators were outshot 14-9 in the first period, but outhustled the Rangers in the second period outshooting them 14-4.
The Senators also had a 5-on-3 advantage for 25 seconds, but were unable to get anything going in the scoreless frame.
“For the overall 60 minutes it was a real tight hockey game,” Hartsburg said.
“It’s always a tough game coming back off a long road trip and the guys were trying different things but they just weren’t able to execute.”
The Senators have now lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine. Going back even further, they are 3-11-2 in the past month.
“We got better as the game went on and took over in the second, but we didn’t have that last push for us to get close in the third, but the difference was the second period. If we score there we’re in the game,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
Notes: The Rangers went more than four periods between penalties before Chris Drury was penalized at 1:29 of the second period against Ottawa. They didn’t receive a penalty against Buffalo and went a total of 91 minutes 59 seconds between calls. . . . Elliott was named the goaltender of the month in the American Hockey League for December. . . . The Rangers have allowed the most short-handed goals in the NHL this year with 13. . . . The Senators lead the lifetime series with the Rangers 31-22-3-5. . . . On their recent eight-game road trip the Senators spent 20 days on the road travelling a total distance of 10,202 kilometres.