Struggling Rangers lose to Senators, 4-1

Ottawa Senators' Rob Klinkhammer is checked by Rangers'

Ottawa Senators' Rob Klinkhammer is checked by Rangers' Anton Stralman during the second period. (March 8, 2012) (Credit: AP)

OTTAWA -- The Rangers are missing something, and it's not just Brandon Dubinsky. It's goals. Big goals. Power-play goals.

After losing to the Senators, 4-1, at ScotiaBank Place Thursday night, the Rangers have scored only two goals in the last two games and, more importantly, have collected only three points in the last four games.

It was the first time since Dec. 13 through 15 that the suddenly struggling Rangers have lost consecutive games in regulation, a span of 36 games.

"We didn't do a good enough job in a lot of areas," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We turned the puck over more than we want to, and they capitalized on some rushes. There were some good spurts, but it just wasn't a complete effort on both ends of the ice."

With the Rangers down 2-1 in the third, Daniel Alfredsson grabbed Michael Del Zotto's turnover in the Rangers' end, wheeled through center ice and went around defenseman Anton Stralman. Martin Biron stopped the puck, but Kyle Turris fired in the rebound for a two-goal lead at 14:07.

Jason Spezza finished it off with an empty-netter, and coach John Tortorella's grim look on the bench told the story.

"We don't come back hard enough, and again, we just didn't generate enough. We're beating ourselves sometimes," Tortorella said. "We're finding ways to lose."

The Rangers (42-17-7, 91 points), who lost to the Devils, 4-1, on Tuesday at Prudential Center, remain six points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division. They fell to a league-leading 30-2-3 when they score first.

Rangers turnovers -- and the Senators' quick transition game -- set the unsettling tone on the Ottawa goals. It didn't help that the Blueshirts were 0-for-4 on the power play.

"We just don't shoot the puck enough," Tortorella said. "We don't have a big shot from the point, but as we went on, I thought it got better."

Biron, who made 21 saves in a 3-2 win in Carolina in his last start March 1, was victimized on two of the first four shots by the Senators, who had only seven shots through 40 minutes.

After Ryan Callahan dived on his stomach to poke a cross-ice pass from Brad Richards past 6-7 goaltender Ben Bishop at 4:36 of the opening period, the Senators answered just 1:14 later.

Marc Staal was stripped at the blue line by Erik Condra, who passed to the left circle, where Zach Smith wound up and fired. The shot appeared to hit Stu Bickel's stick and go past Biron's far side.

With the score tied at 1, John Mitchell's clearing attempt from his own zone was picked off, Biron couldn't control Jim O'Brien's rebound, and Nick Foligno buried the puck at 18:50.

"We have to support each other better in the neutral zone, create some more zone time," Marian Gaborik said. "We have to play together as five."

Bishop won his second start as a Senator but really wasn't tested by the Rangers, who had 26 shots on goal and few quality scoring chances.

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