NHL

Rangers seek scoring solutions against surging Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Rangers look to recover and the Tampa Bay Lightning want to keep streaking.

The Rangers enter Monday night's meeting at Amalie Arena having lost three of the past four games while struggling offensively to fall out of the top three in Metro Division and in to the wild-card spot.

"It's important right now not to focus too much on structure or details," New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told Newsday after Saturday night's 4-1 loss to the Canadiens.

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"It's the mindset to will yourself to win battles all over the ice. I think this game is all about battles, and that's been the biggest difference in our last four games -- winning the battles all over the ice, in front of the net, along the boards. Then I need to come up with the big save when I have to. We need to have more desperation than the other team."

Monday's game starts a four-game trip where the Rangers hope to pick up that battle level while getting back to a consistent offense to give support to the defense. Going through an 0-of-19 stretch on the power play is starting to take its toll, as well.

"There's no doubt that our guys are thinking about it a lot," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told Newsday. "It's in the back of your mind, so you've got to shut the mind off a little bit."

The Lightning have gone in the opposite direction as the Rangers, having put together a 8-2-2 stretch to keep their slim playoff chances alive. That stretch includes winning five of six on home ice -- scoring four or more goals four times during the run of success on home ice.

"There is still a lot of work to do," Lighting coach Jon Cooper said.

Tampa Bay has pulled to within three points of the second wild-spot in the Eastern Conference, part of a mix of five teams vying for the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, all within three points of each other.

It's going to make for a back-and-forth final month of the season, with Tampa Bay looking to get back in to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

Even after the trades Tampa Bay made at the deadline -- moving veterans Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula -- the Lightning feel they still have the right mix of players to make the final push to the end of the season.

"You lose three guys that have had a big impact on our team in a positive way and now they're gone. All veteran players, all guys that have helped us do a lot of winning," Cooper said. "Now our team got a little bit younger and guys are pushed into some bigger roles. We didn't do anything that we thought really was going to harm us from trying to make the playoffs.

"We're trying to make it, and we feel we've got the group that can do that. ... We've also got a bunch of really good guys in there that we don't even feel like we can win with, we know we can win with."