GREENBURGH, N.Y. - One team practiced scoring; the other played dodgeball in Central Park.
With the Rangers' power play 3-for-36 and their shootout record at 2-3, yesterday's session at the training complex was dominated by man-advantage drills and breakaways. The Ottawa Senators (22-21-4), who visit Madison Square Garden Thursday night, took a different approach: using a handball for a puck and playing dodgeball in jeans and skates outdoors at Lasker Rink.
But it wasn't all fun and games for the Senators, who also fired their goaltending coach, Eli Wilson. Neither Pascal Leclaire (3.07 GAA, .890 save percentage) nor Brian Elliot, (2.91, .893) has performed well for the Senators, who have lost five straight games.
The Rangers, 8-1-4 in the last 13 but surrendering critical points as the power play fizzles and the designated shooters in the 1-on-1 extra session don't capitalize, worked diligently. There were 5-on-4s at each end of the rink: Ales Kotalik (rotating with Chris Drury), Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan, Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik skated against goalie Chad Johnson; Marc Staal, Michal Rozsival, Brandon Dubinsky, Erik Christensen and Chris Higgins fired away at Henrik Lundqvist.
"We were looking at tapes of Montreal, the best power play in the league, and they did nothing but take point shots," coach John Tortorella said. "We're trying to get across to Michael that he does not always have to give it to Gabby, he does not always have to give it to Kotalik. If he just takes some wrist shots . . .
"The key for Michael is that when there's someone in front he sees of his color, his uniform, throw it on the net and things will open up elsewhere. Having said that, he's 19 years old and he's running our power play, but it has to start with him taking control."
Shootout practice followed.
"I think our goaltending is going to be there, we just need someone to step up in those situations. I can't coach talent and creativity with that," Tortorella said. "I want them not only to have a little fun with it, but any particular guy, if he wants to work on a certain move, do it. We want them to relax and we want them to put some thought into how they approach these situations if they get called upon."