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Rangers can't afford to stumble

Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist Credit: MSG Photos

Time is running out on the Rangers, who sit in eighth place and are one point ahead of ninth-place Winnipeg in the Eastern Conference.

If the postseason is going to return to the Garden, the Rangers need one of the following: two points however they can get them over their last two games or a regulation loss by the Jets in their final game Thursday night.

The Rangers missed out on a prime opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a 3-2 loss Tuesday to the last-place Florida Panthers. Now, it’ll come down to matchups with the Hurricanes Thursday night and Devils on Saturday at the Garden.

“Our goal and our focus right now is to get in,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist told reporters following the loss in South Florida. “I don’t care how we do it. I don’t mind getting any help. That’s always a good thing. But let’s just focus on the next one here.”

Should the Rangers fail to clinch Thursday night, they could find themselves in big trouble against the Devils. The two teams faced off Sunday and the Rangers came out on top 4-1, eliminating the Devils from postseason contention.

It all sets up a nightmare scenario for the Rangers Saturday afternoon if a playoff spot is still up in the air. The Devils will likely come out with a vengeance as they look to play spoiler.

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