GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Rangers were out on the MSG Training Center ice Monday, together for their first practice after the six-day All-Star break and preparing for the start of their 33-game race to the regular-season finish line with high hopes.
“I think we definitely have a group to do something special,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “We have to push ourselves to the limits here and get it done.”
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But despite their 27-17-5 record and second-place standing in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers have won two straight games only once in the last two months. They still have an injury to deal with, too. Rick Nash wasn’t out on the ice and is expected to miss his third straight game when the Rangers face the Devils on Tuesday night in Newark.
The big wing is continuing to experience the aftershocks from when his left leg got in the way of a shot at Carolina on Jan. 22. Nash underwent a CT scan Monday morning.
“It’s a bad bone bruise, and it’s taking longer than our medical crew felt that it would,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s still feeling pain and having a tough time walking.”
Nash has scored only 12 goals after a season in which he found the net 42 times. Still, the Rangers count heavily on him.
“Rick Nash is kind of a quiet leader in our group,” center Derek Stepan said. “We have to find a way to get it done with a big hole up front.”
The Rangers own the third-most points in the Eastern Conference with 59, leading a group of 11 teams that are within nine points of each other. That includes the Devils at 55.
While the Rangers have been mostly encouraged by their recent play — three victories in the last four games and a 6-3-1 record in the last 10 — they also know their special teams need to be more special.
“Maybe the last month, we were better five-on-five most of the night, and special teams were where we got hurt,” defenseman Marc Staal said.
Their road work has been nothing special, either (9-12-3). But this next game at Prudential Center is close to home in more ways than one.
“It’s going to be a 50-50 crowd most likely anyway,” winger J.T. Miller said. “So we’re going to treat it as a home game and try to build off the energy Rangers fans bring.”