by Patrick Hoffman on 03/02/11 at 06:05 PM ET
Last night’s 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was a game that the New York Rangers had to have. Unfortunately, the team’s inability to finish hurt their chances of doing just that and as result, making things tighter and tighter for them as the team heads down the stretch.
Mats Zuccarello had a chance to tie hockey game with just under two minutes to go when Wojtek Wolski deflected a puck to the slot to Zuccarello. Zuccarello took it in all alone on Sabres’ netminder Ryan Miller only to be stopped by Miller’s glove. Had Zuccarello been able to lift it a bit higher, the game surely would have gone into overtime where anything could have happened.
The Blueshirts had the puck in the slot numerous amount of times in the third period but Miller was either able to make the save or be lucky enough to have one of his defenseman block it or have the Rangers miss the net. All in all, Miller made 29 saves in helping his team get to within three points of the Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings.
Speaking of the Eastern Conference standings, the Rangers are still in the seventh spot but are just one point up on the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes, who were able to defeat the Florida Panthers last night. It gets even worse as the Sabres and Hurricanes will square off tomorrow night while the Rangers will take on the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden.
This makes tomorrow night’s game extremely important for the Rangers. If they somehow manage to lose, than either the Hurricanes will overtake the seventh spot form the Rangers or the Sabres will move to within one point of the Blueshirts with two games in hand.
Hopefully, the Rangers will be able to finish their chances tomorrow night because if they can’t, their playoff hopes will take another hit and come April, could even be finished should the team not be able to figure out how to get the big goals.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.