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Rangers’ Tanner Glass sticks up for teammate by fighting Borowiecki

Ottawa Senators' Mark Borowiecki (74) fights with New

Ottawa Senators' Mark Borowiecki (74) fights with New York Rangers' Tanner Glass (15) during the first period of an NHL game in Ottawa on Saturday April 8, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Fred Chartrand

OTTAWA — Tanner Glass knows his role.

When Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki, who leads the NHL in hits, took down rookie Pavel Buchnevich with a knee-on-knee hit along the boards midway through the first period, Glass made a bee-line for Borowiecki on his next shift, dropped the gloves and both players engaged in a spirited fight.

Each player received five minutes for fighting. Glass led the team with five hits in 13:55, and is making it a difficult decision for coach Alain Vigneault on who will start as the 12th forward against Montreal next week.

Vigneault has another game to finish his evaluations, but when asked afterward if more regulars would dress Sunday against the Penguins to rediscover a winning effort, he said, “It’s a possibility.”

Welcome back, Mika

Midway through the first period, the Senators public address announcer welcomed back Mika Zibanejad, who played 281 games for the Senators over five seasons before he was traded for Derick Brassard last July, and he responded on the bench to the warm ovation by standing up and waving to acknowledging the applause.

“It was nicely done,” said Zibanejad, 23, who remains in touch with former teammates Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman and spoke with several familiar staffers at Canadian Tire Centre.

But Zibanejad, who had four shots in 19:18 and scored his 14th goal of the season on a wraparound with 44.4 seconds to play, wasn’t pleased with the loss. “I don’t think we played well enough,” he said. “We got away from our structure and we didn’t have a lot of shots on goal either. We couldn’t really get though the neutral zone.”

Raanta in net

Antti Raanta (16-8-2, 2.26, .922) will start on Sunday for the regular-season finale against the Penguins. Raanta’s last appearance was a 30-save shutout of the Kings in Los Angeles on March 25 . . . Forward Taylor Beck played 12:31 on the fourth line in his Rangers debut . . . Derek Stepan (rested) missed his first game of the season, leaving J.T. Miller as the only Blueshirt to appear in all 81 games.

Awards presentations

Among the awards to be presented Sunday at the Garden is the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, given since the 1987-88 season to the player who goes “above and beyond the call of duty both on and off the ice,” according to voting by fans. McDonald, an NYPD detective who was shot in the line of duty in July 1986 and died in January, will be represented by his wife and son in the on-ice ceremony. Mats Zuccarello won last season. The team MVP, chosen by the media, will be announced, as well as the Players’ Player award, chosen by teammates.

New York Sports