A slow start and an inability to finish Saturday night cost the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings chances to beat two of the NHL's elite teams and make up ground in their long-shot playoff pursuits.
The Rangers and Kings will look to author more complete performances Monday night, when New York hosts Los Angeles at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams were off Sunday following narrow defeats Saturday, when the Rangers fell to the visiting NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 and the Kings squandered a third-period lead in a 4-2 loss to the host New York Islanders.
The loss was the second in three games since the All-Star Break for the Rangers, who easily could have won all three games. On Tuesday night, New York fell to the Philadelphia Flyers, 1-0, despite outshooting the Flyers 38-19.
On Saturday, the Rangers fell behind 3-0 before the midway point of the second period before storming back against the Lightning, whom they outshot 16-4 in the third period. But New York could not get the equalizer after Kevin Hayes scored on the power play with 13:11 left.
"There's no moral victories in the NHL, but if you watch the game film, we put together a good three games," Hayes said afterward. "We've got 31 games left, and you need points. And I felt like we could have got points in every game since the break. And we only have two points. And in order to take the next step, which is (making the) playoffs, we've got to get some points under our belt." >> Read more
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