The New York Rangers were sitting comfortably atop the Eastern Conference two weeks ago, but a rough stretch has trimmed their lead to the slimmest of margins.
The slump started with a loss to the New Jersey Devils, and the Rangers will try avenge that defeat while avoiding their sixth loss in eight games Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York (44-20-7) owned an eight-point lead in the East on March 5, but that advantage has been cut to one point over Pittsburgh and three over Philadelphia. The top seed in the conference will almost certainly come out of the Atlantic Division, with Northeast-leading Boston having 10 fewer points than the Rangers and Southeast-leading Florida 12 off the pace.
New York is coming off a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Saturday, its second straight defeat and fifth in seven games. Another loss would give the Rangers two three-game losing streaks in March after having just one skid of that length in the first five months.
"We can't get discouraged,''...