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Rangers' playoff hopes hurt in loss to Boston

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist saves a shot by

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist saves a shot by Boston's David Krejci in the first period of New York's 2-1 loss. (Mar. 21, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Miroslav Satan and Dennis Wideman scored for Boston and Tuuka Rask kept the New York Rangers scoreless until late in the third period in the Bruins’ 2-1 victory Sunday.

Boston has 76 points to hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining. The Rangers remained in 10th place with 71 points and 10 games left. The Atlanta Thrashers, with 11 games to go before playing Sunday night in Philadelphia, have 73.

The Bruins had been 1-8-3 at home since winning the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Fenway Park, 2-1 over Philadelphia. And they were coming off a lackluster performance in a 3-0 home loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Michael Del Zotto scored for the Rangers, who failed to rebound from a 4-3 loss to St. Louis that same night and have lost three in a row.

Satan’s fifth goal of the season late in the second period came just 23 seconds after Boston’s Daniel Paille failed to score on a penalty shot when it deflected off Henrik Lundqvist’s glove.

Wideman scored his fourth goal — and first since Jan. 9, also against the Rangers — midway through the third period when he lifted a backhander from the left circle over Lundqvist’s glove to the far side.

That became critical when Del Zotto ruined Rask’s bid for his fourth shutout with his eighth goal with 3:04 left in the game. Del Zotto scored on a blast from the middle of the blue line as Olli Jokinen skated across the slot to try and screen Rask.

The Rangers had made a solid bid with the score 1-0 when Dan Girardi fired a shot from the inside edge of the right circle about 15 feet from Rask. But the goalie skated out and the shot went into his pads.

Neither team mustered many good scoring chances despite the significance of the game. Both had been struggling in their efforts to gain a playoff berth.

Boston finally showed some offensive spark after four scoreless periods when Satan scored at 16:36 of the second period. Andrew Ference skated in from the left point to the low left circle and fired a low pass across the slot, where Satan waited to put it past Lundqvist.

Wideman made it 2-0 at 10:40 of the third period, but the Rangers weren’t finished yet as Del Zotto ruined Rask’s shutout bid. But New York couldn’t score again despite pulling Lundqvist from the net for an extra skater.

NOTES: Boston plays at Atlanta on Tuesday night. ... The Bruins are 1 for 19 on the power play in the seven games top playmaker Marc Savard has missed with a Grade 2 concussion. ... Eleven penalties were called in the first period, starting with fighting majors against Boston’s Steve Begin and New York’s Brandon Prust just 2:40 into the game. ... The Rangers won the season series against the Bruins 3-1.

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