It was ugly everywhere except where it mattered most, and despite the pockmarked performance from those in front of him, Henrik Lundqvist left the Canadian Tire Center on Tuesday night sitting atop Rangers history.

With a sloppy 8-4 victory over the Senators, Lundqvist got win No. 302, passing Mike Richter for the most in franchise history.

“It’s an incredible feeling, a proud feeling,” said Lundqvist, who made 35 saves, stopping all 16 he faced in the second period when the Rangers scored four goals, three in the final 4:12 of the period. “Being up there with those guys, you look at the names of those who played for this organization for a lot of years, and also the franchise has been around for so long, it’s kind of surreal when you think about it.

“But I want to keep gong on, obviously, and I hope I have a lot of years left to keep winning.”
That might not exactly be the case if the Rangers (37-29-4) keep playing the kind of defense they did in front of Lundqvist, allowing chance after chance both on the rush and with horrible coverage lapses in their own zone. Of course, that was partially because of the offensive outburst that staked the Rangers to a 5-2 lead in the second, allowing the Senators (28-27-13) to open things up and take silly risks.

“It wasn’t obviously a defensive masterpiece,” said coach Alain Vigneault, whose team set a season-high with eight goals, two apiece from Rick Nash and Derick Brassard. “But on the way we scored some goals, which we hadn’t done in a while, and hopefully that will carry on to the next few games.”
Ah yes, the next few games. As the Rangers chased Robin Lehner out of the Ottawa net — only to come back midway through the third period after backup Nathan Lawson got hurt — they were receiving some help from the Blue Jackets, who lost to the Hurricanes, 3-1. That allowed the Blueshirts to leapfrog them into third place in the Metropolitan Division, denied second place when the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.