The New York Rangers‘ magic number, a combination of points gained by them or lost by the New York Islanders, is down to 7. It can be as low as three by the time the action wraps up on Wednesday night.
The Rangers will look to end a horrid losing streak at Madison Square Garden, where they’ve gone winless in their past six, as they take on their crosstown rivals from Brooklyn (8:00, NBCSN).
The Rangers (45-24-3) were able to lower their magic number by one last night, though they were disappointed with a 3-2 overtime defeat to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Goals by Oscar Lindberg and Rick Nash, the latter coming on a power play, helped the Rangers make up two separate deficits, but great saves in the third period and overtime by Corey Schneider allowed Joseph Blandisi to pull off the game winning goal. The game featured a hard hit in the stanchion at the end of the bench by Nick Holden on Miles Wood, leading to the power play that yielded Nash’s score.
The Islanders (33-26-12) are currently the first team out of the NHL playoff picture, situated three points behind Toronto for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. They’re coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday at Barclays Center. John Tavares had a third period goal that sent the game into overtime, but Cam Atkinson scored just over a minute into the extra frame to give playoff-bound Columbus the win. In their playoff push, the Islanders are 1-3-1 in their past five.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two New York rivals this season, with the Islanders taking two of three thus far. The last came on February 16 in Brooklyn, a 4-2 Islander win. Andrew Ladd scored two goals for the Islanders, while Nikolay Kulemin added a shorthanded score. Holden and Jimmy Vesey scored the Ranger goals.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490