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Jaroslav Halak gets his first Rangers win on seventh try

OTTAWA, Ontario — When goalie Jaroslav Halak took the ice for his seventh start of the season Wednesday night against the Senators, he was still in search of his first win as a Ranger.

The fact that he hadn’t backstopped the team he joined in the offseason to a single victory could’ve weighed on him. It could’ve crept inside his mind every time he settled between the pipes. The fact is, however, Halak isn’t rattled easily. And when the Rangers needed it most, Halak stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced to help the club snap a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over Ottawa.

“I wouldn’t say frustration,” Halak said when asked if it was frustrating to have to wait for his first win. “Obviously, the games that I played, I wanted to get a win. But at the same time, it’s a long season and just trying to help the guys get some points and win some games. It may not have happened before, but I’m glad it finally happened tonight.

Jaroslav Halak and Chris Kreider
NHLI via Getty Images

“Just have to take it day by day, enjoy it tonight and the next game is on Friday.”

Halak has had tough games sprinkled throughout his seven appearances so far this season, maybe one or two bad ones from start to finish, but the 37-year-old Slovakian has shown an ability to make difficult saves. The Rangers haven’t always played their best in front of Halak, either, yet he has kept them in games at times.

In the third period, when the Rangers were defending a one-goal lead, Halak made a clutch pad save on Senators forward Parker Kelly, who had jumped out on a two-on-one rush that could’ve easily tied the game up. Chris Kreider scored for the Rangers shortly after that to increase their lead to two, which ultimately helped put the game out of reach.

“Can’t get too high, can’t get too low,” Halak said. “Try to stay somewhere in the middle. It’s a big win for me personally, for us it’s another two points in the standings and we need to move up.”

Vincent Trocheck was considered a game-time decision for an undisclosed reason, but the 29-year-old center played. Despite not participating in line rushes during the morning skate, Trocheck was still out there preparing for the game earlier in the day.

Ryan Carpenter, who has one goal and two assists in 20 games this season, was a healthy scratch for just the third time. … Defenseman Libor Hajek watched from the press box for the second game in a row and the fifth time in the last six games.