Shannon, Senators silence Rangers

NEW YORK (AP) — One section of sold-out Madison Square Garden
was pulling for the also-ran Ottawa Senators against the playoff
hopeful New York Rangers.

Ryan Shannon’s fan club sure went home happy.

Shannon, a 26-year-old, third-year NHLer from Darien,
Connecticut, snapped a tie in the third period and gave the
surging Senators a 2-1 win over the Rangers on Sunday night.

After shaking off nerves in the first period in front of 25-30
friends and family members, Shannon scored his fifth goal to
give Ottawa its ninth win in 10 games.

“It was a relief,” Shannon said. “I wanted to do something for
all my friends and family. For all the sacrifices that they’ve
made, they deserved to get some payback even if they were the
only people in the building rooting for Ottawa. It was a dream
come true.”

With only 10 games remaining, the Senators’ playoff dreams are
faint at best. Ottawa (32-30-10) is 11th in the Eastern
Conference, three spots and seven points behind Montreal and the
playoff cutoff.

Mike Comrie returned from a three-game absence caused by the
flu, and Alex Auld made 28 saves in a rare start for the

Ottawa started a six-game road trip with a fourth straight win.
The Senators have only three home games left.

“You lose one game here and there, and mathematically you could
be out of it,” captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “Our approach is
to just win every game and keep this positive thing going.”

Auld gave rookie Brian Elliott the night off, one day after he
earned his eighth consecutive win by beating the New York
Islanders at home.

Auld, starting for the third time in 12 games, allowed Brandon
Dubinsky’s first goal in 24 games in the first period, but was
perfect the rest of the way in improving to 3-0-2 against the
Rangers. The teams split the four-game season series.

“After the little bit of a miscue we had on the first goal, I
thought (Auld) was our best player,” Senators coach Cory
Clouston said. “He played very well and looked composed and was
very deserving of the win.”

Auld made three consecutive shots against Markus Naslund at the
right post with 2:54 remaining to win for the first time since
Feb. 24.

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Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 shots, but the Rangers’ three-game
winning streak overall and four-game home spurt were broken.

“It clearly wasn’t our night,” Rangers captain Chris Drury said.
“There are going to be times when you don’t have it. The key is
how you respond to it and bounce back.”

The Rangers went 0-for-5 on the power play and missed a chance
to jump from seventh to fifth in the East. They are three points
ahead of Montreal with nine games left.

“Even though we weren’t at our best, we are in the third period
1-1 and we needed to win that period, and we didn’t,” coach John
Tortorella said. “We are going to have a short-term memory and
go back to work.”

Shannon put Ottawa in front 2-1 at 1:09 of the third after
Rangers forward Scott Gomez turned over the puck to Mike Fisher
at the Senators’ blue line. Fisher sent a pass to Nick Foligno,
who carried the puck into the Rangers end and dropped it back to
Shannon for the goal.

Dubinsky netted his first goal since Jan. 27 thanks to the
hustle of linemate Ryan Callahan. After a turnover at center
ice, Sean Avery flung the puck into the Ottawa zone. Auld went
behind his net to cut off the dump-in, but Callahan got the puck
after Auld fumbled it and sent a pass in front to Dubinsky, who
snapped a shot in at 2:18 before the goalie could get

“The last month and half we’ve shown a real resiliency after
giving up first goals or tough goals, and bouncing back from
that,” Auld said. “Both for myself and for the team, that was

Dubinsky thrust both arms in the air as a sign of celebration
and relief for his ninth goal this season, and flashed a wide
smile as he received a line of high-fives while skating in front
of the New York bench.

Comrie tied it 6:09 into the second. Comrie’s shot was blocked
by defenseman Dan Girardi. Comrie got to the loose puck in the
slot and sent a backhander through traffic and past Lundqvist
for his 10th goal of the season and third in 12 games since
being traded to Ottawa by the Islanders.