The New York Rangers will try to stay on a roll when they open a two-game road trip against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
The Rangers have won three in a row and six of seven to take a comfortable eight-point lead in the Metro Division entering the week.
New York has yet to lose two in a row this season.
“We have the depth on the team,” New York left wing Artemi Panarin said. “We look pretty good right now. Hope we can play like that all year.”
A key to New York’s success this season continues to be the play of Panarin. He produced a hat trick in a 6-5 win against the visiting San Jose Sharks on Sunday night and entered NHL play Monday fourth in the league in points (35) and tied for fourth in goals (15).
He’s on pace for 53 goals, which would better his career high of 32 scored during his first season with the Rangers in 2019-20.
“He’s been outstanding,” New York center Vincent Trocheck said. “He’s taken another step, somehow — and he was already a world-class player.”
Most of Panarin’s goals have been nothing fancy, just being in the right place at the right time, and that’s usually in front of the net.
“(Goalies) are not really giving up goals on that first shot. It’s always the second or third opportunity,” Trocheck said. “So you’ve got to have somebody there just to take away his eyes, for one, and then if there’s rebound, to put in that second or third effort.
“Whenever (Panarin) is doing it, it’s just showing you that he’s leading by example. If he’s going in and scoring goals from the net front and inside the crease, then everybody needs to be doing it.”
The Senators are coming off a 2-0 win against the visiting Seattle Kraken on Saturday, which ended a three-game skid.
Anton Forsberg made 39 saves in the shutout, a nice turnaround after entering the game with an .850 save percentage, the lowest in the NHL among goalies with five or more games played.
“It’s been tough,” Forsberg said of his start to the season. “It’s been a lot of ups and downs, obviously. Some good games, some bad games.
“I’ve got to find consistency, the whole team’s got to find some consistency. We’ve got to win games on a more regular basis here.”
Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot took maintenance days and did not practice on Monday.
Chabot gave the Senators a brief scare against the Kraken when the defenseman fell hard and left the ice favoring his right leg, but he returned after a brief absence.
Tim Stutzle, who leads the Senators with 23 points, took a spill during practice on Monday and briefly departed, but later returned.
“The schedule doesn’t get any easier because we’ve got some really good opponents, but we’ve got to take care of ourselves,” Ottawa coach DJ Smith said.
Smith said he was hopeful Ridly Greig would return against the Rangers.
Greig, a center who’s collected seven points in nine games this season, has missed the past 10 games with a lower-body injury.
— Field Level Media