OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Jimmy Vesey and Barclay Goodrow gave New York a two-goal lead midway through the second period, and the Rangers beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Chris Kreider also scored and Ryan Lindgren had three assists to help the Rangers snap a three-game skid — including the last two in which they gave up multi-goal leads at home.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots to get his first win win with New York after starting 0-5-1 this season. He had 13 saves in the first period, 10 in the second and 11 in the third.
“It’s great for our team, but it’s also great for him to get that first win after playing the way he played,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “He was outstanding. He made some key saves at key times for us and gave us a chance to win tonight.”
Halak became the seventh goaltender in NHL history to record a win with at least seven different franchises.
“It’s a big win for me, personally,” Halak said. “For us, it’s another two points in the standings and we need to move up.”
Shane Pinto scored and Cam Talbot finished with 33 saves as Ottawa snapped a two-game win streak and lost for the fourth time in six games. The Senators lost for the seventh time in their last eight at home.
Senators coach D.J. Smith thought his team played well enough, but when asked what was missing, his answer was simple.
“Execution,” he said. “I think offensively we had some chances to shoot where we didn’t shoot and maybe (got) too cute. In a 2-1 game, you’re passing up some grade ‘A’ looks and then it’s 3-1 and you’re squeezing it. I just didn’t think we got to the net enough.”
Vesey opened the scoring for the Rangers at 10:34 of the first when he jumped on a rebound out front. It was his third of the season and first in nine games.
After an uninspiring first period, both teams raised the intensity level in the second.
The Rangers extended their lead to 2-0 at 10:52 when Lindgren’s shot deflected off Goodrow and in past Talbot.
Ottawa cut the deficit in half with Pinto’s ninth of the season with 6:13 remaining in the middle period. It was the New York native’s first career goal against the Rangers and first in nine games.
The Rangers regained their two-goal lead with 7:01 left in the third when Lindgren, who was left uncontested at the point, had his shot tipped in by Kreider, who was alone in front. It was Kreider’s team-leading 11th.
“You want your players there,” Gallant said of the net-front presence. “You talk about it, you watch games every night and that’s where 90 per cent of the goals are scored from, the blue paint area. We had guys going there, we had a couple deflections and a couple of rebounds, so hopefully that will carry over.”
The Senators now turn their focus to Friday when they get their shot at redemption on the road, where they’ve won two straight.
“The good news is we get to go right back at these guys in two days at MSG and it’s going to be another fun one so we have to put this one behind us and do what we did on the last road trip,” Talbot said.
INTERESTING FACT OR STAT
Senators captain Brady Tkachuk needs one goal to reach the century mark for his career and one PIM for 400. Since joining the league in 2018-19, Tkachuk is the only player with more than 1,000 hits and more than 1,000 shots.
Rangers: Host Ottawa on Friday night to complete the home-and-home set.
Senators: At the New York Rangers on Friday night.