Two desperate teams will meet tonight at MSG, where the Rangers — losers of three straight, and with just three wins in their last 14 — will host an Anaheim squad that just can’t seem to get on track in 2015-16.
New York coach Alain Vigneault gave his beleaguered troops the day off yesterday, after Sunday’s 7-3 home loss to the Capitals. It was the Rangers’ third straight defeat. Combined, they’ve been outscored 17-7 over the last 180 minutes.
“I don’t think guys’ minds were away from the rink; it was more of a reset, rethink, and refocus,” defenseman Marc Staal told NHL.com. “It was good to get away and come back here with some energy tonight to try to get a win.”
The good news for the Rangers is that they’re still comfortably in a playoff spot. The same can’t be said for the Ducks, the last-place team in the worst division in the league, the Pacific.
Anaheim lost 5-2 Monday in Brooklyn. The Ducks — who came into the season with Stanley Cup hopes — haven’t strung together more than two straight wins since the beginning of November, the only time they’ve done it all season.
“To end this, we need consistency,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We play a good game, then a bad game. We’re not forming good habits on a continual basis. We had a lot of errors, and when we have them, they end up in our net.”
“We have to be mentally stronger,” added captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Scoring a few more goals might help, too. Anaheim’s averaging just 1.84 per game, last in the NHL. Getzlaf only has one, and that was into an empty net.