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Rangers eager to return home, where they are 9-5-1

Rick Nash of the Rangers handles the puck

Rick Nash of the Rangers handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (March 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

PITTSBURGH -- Starting Monday against Carolina, the slumping Rangers play three of their next four at Madison Square Garden, where they are 9-5-1, and coach John Tortorella thinks home cooking may help.

"I always feel it doesn't matter, home or away, but yeah, it's been a long trip, it hasn't been a fun trip," he said. "We have good people and they don't like what they're going through, but they have to remember, just a week ago, they were on a winning streak of four games or five games, and we can turn that around very quickly.

"It's a league that's bunched as far as points. You can make a lot of distance back up if you have a good week . . . When you don't score, your confidence goes down; when you don't win, it goes down. We just need to stay together as a team and stay with it."

Hamrlik: Stick to plan

Defenseman Roman Hamrlik has seen a lot of team scoring slumps over his career. His solution? "Stick with the system, compete 60 minutes, don't change anything, and we're gonna score some ugly goals," he said.

Hamrlik, acquired via waivers from Washington on March 6 after having played just four games for the Capitals, agreed with Tortorella's assessment that he was "thinking the game" better. "I just need to keep my feet moving and get my confidence back, make the first pass on the tape; overall, I think the effort was there," he said.

Blue notes

Carl Hagelin led the Rangers with five shots . . . Henrik Lundqvist is 11-11-1 overall, including a 2-6-1 mark on the road this season . . . The Rangers were 0-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill . . . The Penguins were without Evgeni Malkin.

New York Sports