An Ugly Night, But Rangers Are Still Alive

New York Hockey Daily@nyhockeydailyContributor IApril 7, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 06:  Steve Montador #4 and Toni  Lydman #5 of the Buffalo Sabres defend against Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers at HSBC Arena on April 6, 2010 in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo won 5-2 and won the Northeast Division. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

There is not much good you can say about last night’s 5-2 loss against the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers needed the win to keep up with the Flyers, who beat the Maple Leafs last night, but the Rangers couldn’t keep up against the first good team they faced in at least two weeks.

Things looked good for the Blueshirts going into the night. They got forward Ryan Callahan back and despite the fact that he never gets a night off, ever, Henrik Lundqvist has looked good of late. But it wasn’t enough, Callahan didn’t register a point, had a negative rating, and only played 12:54 minutes. And Lundqvist was pulled after facing just 16 shots because he only managed to stop 13 of them.

That game certainly could not be pinned on Lundqvist, especially since he might have been pulled early, and Callahan entirely though. The top two lines provided almost no offense, Brandon Prust and P.A. Parenteau were the only goal scorers, Prust has scored goals in three games in a row, and four of their six defensemen had negative ratings on the night. The worst was Michael Del Zotto with a -3

With the loss and the Philadelphia win, tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs is vital. If they don’t get any points tonight they cannot pass the Flyers in points even if they take both games against them. Fortunately they still could pass the Boston Bruins in that scenario, but not if Boston gets any points in their final three games.

Here are the standings:

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6. Montreal – 87 points – 39 wins – 2 games remaining
7. Philadelphia – 86 points – 40 wins – 2 games remaining
8. Boston – 85 points – 36 wins – 3 games remaining
9. Rangers – 82 poings – 36 wins – 3 games remaining
10. Atlanta – 81 points – 34 wins – 2 games remaining

The Rangers can make the playoffs even if they lose tonight, but with the way the standings fall now it will look awfully bleak if they can’t get it done against Toronto. Luckily for the Rangers they are the last place team in the East, but Toronto did beat them just last week.

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