The New York Ranger’s chances of making a deep playoff run are in danger of slipping away, as the club’s playoff hopes are in serious doubt following the team’s fourth straight loss.
The New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning each swept the Rangers, while the Pittsburgh Penguins swept the Lightning on Saturday, and New York was eliminated from playoff contention after falling 4-1 to the New York Islanders in a shootout.
New York’s chances fell to .500 on Monday, with the Rangers trailing the Lightning by four points at the time of the shootout.
The Rangers have since regained their lead, with four of their past five wins coming against the Lightning.
“We’re in the midst of a really difficult stretch,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Sunday.
“We’re trying to make it as good as we can and try to stay in the playoff race.”
Rutherford, however, said the club still has work to do to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“If we don’t get to the playoffs we’re going to be very disappointed,” Rutherford said.
“The good news is, we’re not there yet.
But the bad news is that there’s not a whole lot of time left in the year.”
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is a game-time decision because of a lower-body injury and will miss the remainder of the season.
“I think it’s a little bit of a blessing that we’re getting Henrik back,” Rutherford added.
“He’s been an unbelievable asset for us.
We’ve been looking at him as a guy that we think has the ability to step in and help us, but he’s got to get through this stretch of games and play well.”
Roughly 10 minutes into the second period, defenseman Zach Redmond made a great play in front of the net that sent goaltender Henning Lundqvists skate through the neutral zone for a puck that bounced out of Lundqvis hands.
Lundqvist immediately made the save, but Rangers forward Tom Pyatt had the puck on the bench for a potential goal.
The Rangers have not won a shootout in the last three games, including the two games prior.
“It’s a tough game, especially in a playoff game,” forward Adam McQuaid said.
“At some point we have to figure out a way to get the game back on track and get this one right.
We just have to get it done and get it going.”
Rival Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby also took a shot on goal from the faceoff circle after the Rangers led 2-1.
McQuaid and linemate Alexander Semin took the ensuing faceoff.
Semin beat the Rangers’ goalie for a shot that hit the post.
McQueen, who was on a line with Semin, got a pass from Semin, who skated into the zone with a slight deflection.
Semin made the play.
Mcquays shot was deflected wide, with Semin’s skate bouncing off the net and into the net.
“He did an amazing job of keeping the puck out of the goalie’s area,” Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said.
“[But] I think that’s a lot of pressure on a goalie.”
The Rangers, however are hoping that Semin will be ready to play in Game 4 on Sunday.
“Hopefully, he’s ready,” Rutherford continued.
“That would be great.
I’m hoping for it.”