The Rangers have 68 points, seven fewer than the eighth-place Islanders and five fewer than ninth-place Montreal.
But the Rangers only have nine games remaining, while the Islanders have 11. The season series is tied, 1-1-1, and the the Islanders host the Rangers on April 1. The Rangers conclude the regular season at Montreal on April 5.
The Rangers are 0-2-0-1 over their last three games. On Saturday, they lost at New Jersey, 3-1, allowing the Devils to clinch a playoff berth.
Matthew Barnaby scored the only goal for the Rangers, who are hoping to avoid missing the playoffs for a franchise-record six straight years.
The Islanders have won back-to-back games after a four-game losing streak.
On Saturday, the Islanders improved to 2-1 on their six-game road trip with a 5-2 triumph at Ottawa.
Rookie Mattias Weinhandl scored twice, Dave Scatchard, defenseman Roman Hamrlik and Alexei Yashin added one goal apiece and Garth Snow made 31 saves in the win, the team’s second in a row by a score of 5-2.
The Rangers are 0-3-1 at home against the Islanders over the last two seasons.
The Islanders are 2-0 all time against the Rangers on St. Patrick’s Day.