BLUES (32-28-9) at RANGERS (31-30-9)
Last 10 -- St. Louis 7-3-0; New York 5-3-2
Season series -- This is the second and final meeting of the season between the teams. The Blues used three third-period goals on Jan. 16 to pick up a 4-1 victory. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had the night off, as rookie Chad Johnson took the loss.
Big story -- If the Blues were in the East, their 73 points would have them just one point out of the playoffs. But in the West, that total is good for 11th place and seven points out of the postseason. The Rangers, meanwhile, have two fewer points than St. Louis and a lot more riding on this game. They need a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins, their next opponent.
Blues -- St. Louis comes to MadisonSquareGarden as the loser of two straight, but the Blues also may have an edge. They are 20-11-4 on the road, the third-best mark in the League. The Rangers are fifth from the bottom at home.
The Blues know time is running out on their playoff hopes, but they aren't ready to throw in the towel just yet.
"A lot's happened with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before, so we're not going to count ourselves out," forward David Backes said after Tuesday's 5-3 home loss to Colorado. "We play a lot of the teams that are ahead of us still and if we take care of our business I still like our chances."
Rangers -- With a chance to start their march toward a playoff spot at home against the red-hot Canadiens, the Rangers fell flat in a 3-1 loss Tuesday. The offense wasn't there, the team made mistakes, and it left the team feeling frustrated.
"We definitely don't want this to be the end of the year," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 32 saves against Montreal. "If we want to keep playing, we have to raise our level and play our best hockey."
They'd also like to leave New York on a high note, because after tonight, they the Rangers play seven of their next eight on the road.
Who's hot -- Blues center Andy McDonald had 2 goals and 5 assists in seven games since the Olympic break. Alex Steen has 5 goals and 5 assists in seven games this month. … Rangers forward Sean Avery, responding to a benching last week, has 3 goals in his last two games. Center Erik Christensen has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his last nine games.
Injury report -- The Blues and Rangers are reporting no injuries.
Stat pack -- The Blues are 10-45 with 6 ties all-time at Madison Square Garden, but that mark was a lot worse before they went 4-0-1 in their last five visits. They won four in a row before losing 3-2 in a shootout on March 3, 2007. The last time they left the Garden without a point was a 3-1 loss on Jan. 20, 1998.
Puck drop -- "We have to approach every game like it is the last. Just put a lot of energy into every game, focus and get ready for war." -- Henrik Lundqvist
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