Simply because Carolina, Buffalo, Atlanta and Montreal keep pace in losing along with the Rangers, the just-not-enough Blueshirts are in the hunt with a quarter of the regular season to play.
The Rangers were 6-6 in the 12 games when Marian Gaborik was sidelined in October with a separated left shoulder, and now, with Gaborik out indefinitely with a concussion, perhaps the Rangers will look for a forward as well as a defenseman before the Feb 28 trade deadline.
Ruslan Fedotenko is a about a week away from returrning, and although he's not a 20-goal scorer, he'll help. Kris Newbury, recalled last night for the Carolina game in Raleigh on Tuesday, will help on faceoffs and with some grit.
For now, the lines of Wolski-Stepan-Zuccarello and Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan, will need to produce, and Vinny Prospal as well, especially on the power play. Prospal could be on the third line on Tuesday with Boyle and Prust, or Christensen---if you like the three-center idea, with Newbury, Avery and the other forward (Prust?) on a gritty fourth line.
Gaborik's injury might prompt GM Glen Sather to move on a forward, After Alex Frolov blew out his knee, Sather acquired Wolski from Phoenix the next day for Michal Rozsival.
Anyway, expect a lot more one-goal games.
Here's the latest East standings:
6 .Montreal 31-22-7, 69 points in 60 games
7. Rangers 31-25-4, 66 points in 61 games
8. Carolina 28-24-8 64 points in 60 games
9. Buffalo 27-25-6 60 points in 58 games
10. Atlanta 25-25-10 60 points in 60 games