- Associated Press - Saturday, January 18, 2014

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Derek Stepan felt as though he shed a huge weight.

The U.S. Olympic center broke a 13-game goal drought and added two assists in the New York Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

“It’s a big relief,” Stepan said. “I don’t know, for whatever reason throughout the year you go through these little dips and valleys and you have to find a way to just get through it.

“It’s like the old saying of getting a monkey off your back.”

Scoring a goal will help Stepan’s game, but he was quick to point out that the two assists were just as important.

“It definitely helps with confidence,” said Stepan, who hadn’t netted a goal since Dec. 20. “Confidence is a tricky thing in this sport. When you seem to find a little bit of it you have to try to build off that momentum.”

The Rangers have won of five of six to help their playoff positioning, and New York is looking to continue to improve during its best stretch of the season.

“We’ve been talking about it as a group that points for the rest of the year are huge,” Stepan said. “This one was no different.”

After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the Rangers (26-21-3) got goals from Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Stepan and Mats Zuccarello.

Cam Talbot gave Henrik Lundqvist a rest and made 27 saves for his 10th win of the season. Talbot improved to 6-0 in Saturday games.

Marc Methot scored the lone goal for the Senators (21-19-9), who received 26 saves from Craig Anderson. Ottawa had an eight-game point streak snapped (6-0-2) and fell to 1-3-2 at home in afternoon games.

The last time the Senators won at home in the afternoon was Nov. 9 against the Florida Panthers. That was also the last day that Ottawa was in a playoff spot.

“I don’t know what it is,” Senators forward Clarke MacArthur said of the daytime woes. “To even talk about it is just an excuse. We have to be ready. The other teams come in here ready at 2 so we have to find a way to be better.”

Giveaways proved costly for the Senators as the Rangers turned two into goals.

“It happens to all of us once in a while,” Methot said. “Unfortunately, it happened a few times.”

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