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Rangers rally to down Senators 4-3

December 28, 2016
New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) and defenseman Brady Skjei (76) collide with Ottawa Senators right wing Curtis Lazar (27) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) and defenseman Brady Skjei (76) collide with Ottawa Senators right wing Curtis Lazar (27) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nick Holden has clearly been a valuable addition to the New York Rangers’ defense corps this season. Two goals, including the game-winner, against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night proved he could be an offensive hero as well.

Holden scored the go-ahead goal less than 7 minutes into the third period, lifting the Rangers to a comeback 4-3 victory.

Holden’s second goal of the game and sixth of the season came at 6:31 as he wedged the puck past Senators goaltender Mike Condon just 4 seconds after a Rangers’ power play had expired.

“Getting the win the way we did means more to me than scoring two goals,” said Holden, who was acquired by the Rangers from Colorado in a draft-day trade last June. “My game is not scoring. I like to play well defensively. I was just happy with the way the team responded.”

Derek Stepan had two goals and defenseman Ryan McDonagh had a career-high three assists as the Rangers (24-12-1) overcame a 3-1 deficit and snapped a two-game losing streak.

“The fans were behind us and we battled back,” said Stepan, who verbally urged his teammates to play better early in the game. “We had to lead by example and step up. There’s so much emotion in this game. You have to take advantage of it.”

Antti Raanta, who allowed goals on the first two shots he faced from the Senators, recovered to make 33 saves for the win, improving to 9-4-0 this season. Raanta started in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who didn’t dress because of the flu.

“Antti responded well and gave us a chance,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “The way we crawled back says a lot about the resolve of this group.”

Raanta made several strong saves with the Senators on the power play late in the third to seal the victory, his best a denial of Mike Hoffman from point blank range. He also stopped former Ranger Derick Brassard in the waning seconds.

The Senators (20-12-3) saw their four-game winning streak end even though they had a 2-0 lead just over 3 minutes into the game.

Defenseman Mark Borowiecki scored his first goal of the season at 2:02 on a shot from the left point that eluded Raanta, who allowed seven goals in his last start at Pittsburgh.

Ottawa forward Zack Smith followed with his eighth of the season at 3:08 with assists to Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone. Karlsson leads the Senators with 32 points, including 25 assists. Smith has four goals in his last five games.

Holden, who leads Rangers defensemen with six goals and has 18 points overall, scored at 11:37 to narrow the deficit to 2-1 when he beat Condon from the right circle with a high snap shot. McDonagh and Kevin Hayes assisted.

Defenseman Cody Ceci made it 3-1 for the visitors at 16:56 with his first goal of the season on a shot from the right point that found its way through traffic into the net.

“We missed too many goals, that’s clear,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “Even in the third period we got four posts and if any one of those four posts goes in, that’s a different game. We played a good game here. It’s too bad it didn’t go our way.”

The Senators, who beat the Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 27, outshot the Rangers 12-7 in the first period and had a 14-10 advantage in the second.

Just 2 seconds after a penalty to Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel expired, Stepan again made it a one-goal game at 2:45 with assists to McDonagh and Chris Kreider.

Stepan tied the game with a power-play goal at 14:55 of the second, tipping a shot by Mats Zuccarello past Condon for his ninth goal of the season. McDonagh added his third assist of the game. He leads the Rangers with 21 assists.

NOTES: The Rangers recalled rookie G Brandon Halverson, a second-round draft pick in 2014, from AHL Hartford to back up Raanta. ... Rangers D Kevin Klein played his 600th game. ... The Rangers continued to be without Fs Pavel Buchnevich (back), Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula) and Rick Nash, who missed a third straight game with groin injury. ... The Rangers make their lone visit to Ottawa on April 8.

UP NEXT:

Senators host Detroit on Thursday.

Rangers visit Arizona on Thursday.

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