KANATA, Ontario -- One step forward, one step back for the Rangers.
One game after they scored five goals against the Flyers in a road win, the Rangers lost to the Senators, 3-0, Thursday night, the fourth time they have been blanked this season.
"We've got to back up wins with better efforts than that," said Brad Richards, who had only one of the Rangers' 24 shots on goaltender Ben Bishop. "We can't start playing in the third. It's disappointing to have an effort like we did in Philly at this time of year and do that tonight. Win or lose the game, we're not giving ourselves much of a chance."
Ottawa scored the only goal it needed with 48.8 seconds left in the second period on its second power play, triggered when Mike Hoffman, closing in on Henrik Lundqvist, was tripped from behind by Anton Stralman.
Andre Benoit fired from the right point and the puck hit the leg of Ryan McDonagh, battling with Chris Neil in front, before finding the back of the net. Guillaume Latendresse scored on an odd-man rush from the left circle at 12:16 of the third and Colin Greening added an empty-netter with 2:02 left.
"Bottom line, it's not good enough," said Lundqvist, who made 26 saves and gave the Rangers a chance to gain at least a point. "We need everybody right now. We need top plays and smart plays for 60 minutes. We're playing teams that are working really hard. We have to match it. If you're losing special teams, we're having a tough time winning games.
"It's really disappointing. I'm going to leave it at that."
The Rangers (16-14-3, 35 points) dropped into a tie for eighth place with the Islanders (16-15-3, 35 points), who beat the Flyers in a shootout Thursday night in Philadelphia. The Rangers have a game in hand.
The Rangers, now 0-3 against the Senators and winless in Canada this season, will play the Canadiens in Montreal Saturday. The Canadiens have beaten the Rangers twice this season, including 3-0 in their last visit to Bell Centre on Feb. 23.
The Rangers were 0-for-4 on the power play and the penalty-killing units allowed one goal in two chances. They have allowed at least one power-play goal in six of the last eight games and scored only twice with the man-advantage.
"If I score in the third, it's a 1-1 game and we come out of there, maybe, with two points," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who missed a point-blank shot midway through the third with the Rangers trailing 1-0. "Good teams put it together night in and night out. That's why we find ourselves in the situation we're in, battling for eighth place, because we haven't been able to put it together consistently. We had to have a good battle level and it wasn't there."
Coach John Tortorella answered only two postgame questions before leaving. "I just don't like our [first] 40 minutes," he said. "I'm frustrated with that. We're just not generating any offense. I thought the third was better, but this time of year, we need a big play at that time."