Down three defensemen, Sens still stuff Rangers

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators found a way to overcome the
absence of three top defensemen -- and keep NHL-scoring leader
Jaromir Jagr in check.

Ray Emery made 24 saves, and Chris Neil, Patrick Eaves, Dany
Heatley and Peter Schaefer scored in Ottawa's 4-1 victory over the
New York Rangers on Thursday night.

The Eastern Conference-leading Senators played without defensive
partners Zdeno Chara (hand) and Chris Phillips (knee), and Wade
Redden missed the game to travel to Saskatchewan on Thursday to be
with his ailing mother.

"I asked a couple of guys if they could meet a challenge and
they responded," coach Bryan Murray said. "It was a team hockey
game, a team effort. A lot of people did a real fine job. That's
what hockey is."

Fedor Tyutin had the lone goal for the Rangers, and Henrik
Lundqvist made 28 saves.

Ottawa finished 3-for-9 with the man advantage, while New York
was 0-for-6.

"It's tough to take so many penalties," Lundqvist said. "I
thought 5-on-5 we played pretty well and got some scoring chances.
They just played smart and seemed to wait for our penalties. They
have a great power play."

Jagr, who had four assists Wednesday night in a 5-1 road victory
over the New York Islanders to break Jean Ratelle's franchise
scoring record, assisted on Tyutin's goal to push his NHL-leading
scoring total to 114. Jagr also has an NHL-leading 52 goals, tied
with Adam Graves for the team record.

In Chara's absence, Andrej Mezsaros was given the challenge of
shutting down Jagr.

"This was a big opportunity for me to show the coach I can play
30 minutes if need be," said Meszaros, who played 29:55. "My
focus was to keep Jagr in check and not letting him score any
goals. I think I had a pretty good game."

Jagr said he rarely pays attention to who is or isn't on the ice
and admitted he was feeling under the weather due to a cold.

"When I play games I don't really care. Everyone is
replaceable," Jagr said. "I just tried to help the team."

With the loss, the Rangers remained four points ahead of
second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division race. The
division winner is in position to get the No. 3 seed in the
conference and the loser is expected to open against Buffalo in the
4-5 series.

"We worked, we tried things, but collectively we weren't on the
same page," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "They really need a
break, but I'm not making excuses."<

Neil scored his 16th goal of the season on a two-man advantage
early in the first period, and Eaves made it 2-0 with his 16th on
another two-man advantage at the 13-minute mark. New York countered
less than a minute later on Tyutin's backhander.

Heatley added his 43rd goal of the season on another power play
in the second, and Schaefer scored his 19th in the third.

"Special teams are big," Senators center Jason Spezza said.
"That's how you're going to win games down the stretch."

Game notes
The Senators also were without RW Martin Havlat (shoulder,
out until April 10) C Mike Fisher (ankle, out indefinitely) and G
Dominik Hasek (adductor muscle, out indefinitely). Defenseman Brad
Norton was recalled from Binghamton ... New York was without LW
Martin Rucinsky (broken finger, out four weeks), while LW Marcel
Hossa and C Alexandre Giroux were healthy scratches.