The New York Rangers nearly pulled off an improbable comeback in their last outing. Coach Tom Renney hopes they can use that momentum to get back on track.
The Rangers try to break out of their funk when they host the struggling Boston Bruins on Saturday in the first matchup of the season between the Original Six franchises.
New York (22-19-4) trailed by five goals early in the third period Thursday before scoring four unanswered in a span of just more than seven minutes, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Rangers fell 6-4 to the Ottawa Senators.
“It caps off a morale boost for them,” Renney said. “The third period, I’m hoping, will provide that for this team going forward. We are capable and we need to believe that.”
The Rangers need to tighten up their defense. They have allowed a total of 11 goals in the last two games —the same number they’d allowed in the previous six contests combined. New York has lost the last two games following a four-game winning streak. That run came on the heels of a season-high seven-game skid, making the Rangers 4-9-0 in their last 13 games.
They hope to get back on track against the Bruins (20-17-4), whom they defeated in all four meetings last season. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped four of five shots in relief of Kevin Weekes on Thursday, is 3-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average in his career against the Bruins.
New York leading scorer Jaromir Jagr has 14 points in his last nine matchups with Boston, including three in their last meeting, a 4-3 overtime win for the Rangers on April 8.
The Bruins have dropped five of their last six games overall, including a 5-4 shootout defeat to the New York Islanders on Thursday. They jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first nine minutes and outshot the Islanders 42-35, including 10-1 in the extra session, but still came up short.
“Nothing has changed,” said Bruins coach Dave Lewis, whose team is trying to avoid a season-high tying fourth straight road loss. “We aren’t going to win a lot of hockey games giving up four goals.”
Boston has been outscored 32-13 in the last six games. Bruins leading scorer Marc Savard did his part Thursday, though, with a goal and two assists. He has seven points in his last three games.
Boston’s No. 1 netminder, Tim Thomas, has lost all of his three career starts against the Rangers while posting a 3.55 GAA.
The Rangers acquired Jason Krog off waivers from Atlanta on Friday. The 31-year-old center had four points in 14 contests for the Thrashers this season and has 56 points in 189 career games over a six-season career with the Islanders, Anaheim and Atlanta.