Another game, another two points gone up in smoke. That's been the theme for the Rangers since the All-Star break, and the Rangers are hoping to break out of their recent slump tonight against the lowly Ottawa Senators.
The Rangers sure can use the points tonight, even though they're not fighting with the Senators for a playoff spot.
Here's how the playoff table looks, with a big thanks to Andrew Gross for the table:
7. Hurricanes, 65 games played, 31-25-9, 71 points, won 2 in a row
8. Rangers, 66, 33-29-4, 70, lost 3
9. Sabres, 63, 30-25-8, 68
10. Maple Leafs, 65, 29-27-9, 67, won 2
11. Thrashers, 65, 26-28-11, 63, lost 2
12. Devils, 63, 28-31-4, 60, won 2
The Hurricanes are at Chicago tonight at 8:30. The Devils host the Penguins while the Sabres are at Philadelphia tomorrow.
You don't need to be a doctor to see just how bad of shape the Rangers are in. The biggest issue is the Buffalo Sabres, who are only two points back but have a whopping three games in hand.
A Rangers win tonight, coupled with a Hurricanes loss, would propel the Rangers back into the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Of course, another Rangers loss added to a Hurricane win would push the Rangers three points back with Carolina holding a game in hand.
You see how this gets tricky right?
But the Rangers, admittedly, can't worry about other teams. They have their own problems to worry about, and they badly need a win tonight. The Rangers will try to break a three-game losing streak tonight, without Marian Gaborik (who skated this morning) and probably without Ryan McDonagh, who injured himself in the third period last night against the Wild.
- Expect Henrik Lundqvist to get the start again. Also expect him to start Sunday. If it wasn't crystal clear already the Martin Biron injury might become a really, really big deal down the stretch.
- If, in fact, McDonagh can't go tonight (which seems to be likely) then Steve Eminger will go in his place.