STINKY SECOND: Ottawa Senators crumble in loss to New York Rangers

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Rangers 7, Senators 2

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When things go bad for the Ottawa Senators, they go really sideways.

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The Senators, and goalie Joonas Korpisalo, blew a 2-0 lead and crumbled in the second period in a 7-2 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators have written a lot of scripts this National Hockey League season, most of them lacking a happy ending, but this has to rank among the most disappointing. Nearly two months ago, the Senators whacked the Rangers 6-2.

How bad was it Saturday? Five goals allowed in the middle period. Three of them came in a span of three minutes. Four of them came over a stretch where the Rangers had just four shots. Korspisalo was yanked after the fourth goal (he had faced 17 shots), replaced by Mads Sogaard.

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The second period has been a problem for Ottawa all season, but it hadn’t been this bad. Well, until Saturday.

Brady Tkachuk picked up the loose puck and scored on a backhand for Ottawa at 11:43 of the first period after Rangers defenceman K’Andre Miller coughed it up deep in his own end. Claude Giroux got his 700th career NHL assist on the goal.

Ottawa made it 2-0 nine seconds into a Mika Zibanejad high sticking penalty, when Jakob Chychrun teed up a one-timer at 1:23 of the second period.

Alexis Lafrenière scored for the Rangers at 5:51.

New York then tied it with a weak goal; a Chris Kreider wrist shot handcuffed Korpisalo at 8:33.

Then, 39 seconds later, a nice pass from Artemi Panarin set up defenceman Zac Jones for his first goal of the season. And the Rangers struck again 2:04 later, with Jonny Brodzinski scoring.

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They made made it 5-2 with 3:06 left in the second period, when Blake Wheeler converted a Zibanejad pass.

An empty-net goal by Panarin (his 30th goal of the season) with 2:43 left made it 6-2. Chychrun got a 10-minute misconduct after that goal.

With 2:08 left, a Kaapo Kakko goal gave the Rangers a 7-2 lead.

FIGHTING MAD: Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk ended up on the bottom of the pile on the ice, but landed several good shots in a second-period fight with New York’s Connor Mackey. Tkachuk likes to stick up for his teammates, but it’s probably not a good tradeoff when your captain has to sit in the penalty box for five minutes after exchanging punches with a guy playing his first NHL game of the season. Of note, the Senators were leading 2-0 before the fight.

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THE DRAFT DEBATE: After seasons of 21, 31 and 39 points, Lafrenière, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL draft, has picked up the pace with 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points so far this season. Quinton Byfield, the No. 2 pick in that 2020 draft (to Los Angeles) is also starting to put it together, with 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points (he had 30 points in 53 games a year ago). No. 3 that year? Despite some shortcomings this season, Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle has still been the best of the bunch. Coming off a 90-point season, he has 45 so far this campaign. You could make an argument Senators defenceman Jake Sanderson, who went fifth overall in 2020, may turn out better than Lafrenière and Byfield, too.

THIS ‘N’ THAT: The Senators didn’t get their first shot on goal until there was 7:34 minutes gone; it was a Drake Batherson wrist shot to the left of Rangers goalie Jonathan Quick … Rangers captain Jacob Trouba missed Saturday’s game; the NHL suspended the defenceman for two games following an elbow to the head of Las Vegas’ Pavel Dorofeyev in a game on Friday … There were some boos when Stutzle was cross-checked to the ice and there was no penalty call near the end of the first period … Ottawa’s Mathieu Joseph picked up a second-period penalty for embellishment while drawing an interference penalty from Blake Wheeler … Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto both had good whacks at the puck with Quick down early in the third period … Attendance was 19,262, the team’s fourth straight sellout.

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