New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators on Dec. 9, 2010

The Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers are facing off for the second time in less than a week, and the last outing didn’t go so well for the Blueshirts.

New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators on Dec. 9, 2010
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

THE STORY: The Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers are facing off for the second time in less than a week, and the last outing didn’t go so well for the Blueshirts. Chris Kelly scored his first career hat trick and Pascal Leclaire turned aside 25 shots to give the Senators their first win in four games. While the Rangers have been practicing all week for this rematch, Ottawa returned to its losing ways against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night.

THE SUBPLOTS: Could Alex Kovalev be headed for the press box? Coach Cory Clouston wouldn’t say after practice Wednesday, but he also didn’t rule out giving his $5 million man an unwanted night off. As with all the Senators, Kovalev has been struggling to put points on the board and found himself skating on the fourth line. Said Clouston: “We’re going to take it game-by-game.”

THE WILDCARD: Daniel Alfredsson, Senators. Alfredsson didn’t have a great game against Montreal, failing to score a point for the ninth straight game and causing the first goal with a glaring turnover. In the past, this team has relied heavily on him to bust it out of slumps. Can the captain still do it, or are the years finally catching up with him?

THE OPPONENT: As previously mentioned, the Rangers have had all week to think about their lacklustre performance against the Senators at Madison Square Garden and should be hungry for revenge. Working in their favour — the fact that they’ve been much better on the road than they have at home this season. New York is just 6-8-1 in its own rink, but 10-4-0 on the road.

THE QUOTE: “We know that every game is very important. The longer this goes, the tougher it’s going to be. As a pro athlete, you never give up. You just keep going until mathematically there’s no chance. We’re just going to keep working, and hopefully we can get on a winning streak before it’s too long.” — Alfredsson, acknowledging the Senators may be fighting for their playoff lives very soon.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — No injuries. Rangers — C/W Chris Drury (finger), C Vaclav Prospal (knee).

THE PREDICTION: Because the Rangers are one of those rare teams that play much better on the road than they do at home — and the fact Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Senators will still be fresh in their minds — I think this one will go New York’s way. Barring another Chris Kelly hat trick or a Brian Elliott shutout, Ottawa’s skid will continue at least one more night. Rangers 3, Senators 1.

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