Pressure is mounting on Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers.
St. Louis gets another crack at scoring his first goal for the slumping Rangers as they try to capitalize on a meeting with the spiraling Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
New York (36-29-4) acquired St. Louis from Tampa Bay prior to the March 5 trade deadline with the hopes he could add some much-needed scoring punch. Last season’s league leader with 60 points, St. Louis has two assists in seven games with the Rangers.
The 38-year-old right wing didn’t even muster one of New York’s 41 shots in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to San Jose.
"I’m trying to play the game that’s in front of me. Sometimes you’re the shooter and sometimes you’re not," said St. Louis, who has two goals and six assist over his last six meetings with Ottawa. "Of course there’s pressure. There’s no bigger pressure than pressure I put on myself. I knew it was going to be hard. There’s no time to feel sorry. You’ve just gotta man-up and be a big boy about it and go to work every day."
The rest of the Rangers may be able to relate since they’ve dropped three of four while totaling two goals in those defeats.
That funk has them in the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Washington and three in front of Detroit with 13 games left. New York is equal on points with Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division, trailing second-place Philadelphia by one.
"We definitely understand how important every point is," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said Sunday. "Right now, it’s about points, it’s not about playing great against good teams."
Lundqvist will likely be back in net for a second chance at win No. 302, which would move him past Mike Richter for sole possession of the franchise record. He made 28 saves against the Sharks but was beaten by a short-handed goal in the opening period.
Lundqvist, who has won nine of his last 12 starts on the road, is 1-3-3 in his past seven against Ottawa (28-26-13).
Backup Cam Talbot had 29 saves in a 4-1 road win over the Senators on Jan. 18, but he’s since lost three of four starts.
The Senators are also enduring a rough stretch, losing seven of nine (2-5-2) as their postseason chances continue to fade.
Their slide reached three Sunday, falling 3-1 at home to Colorado one day after blowing a three-goal lead in the final 3:22 of a 5-4 overtime loss at Montreal.
"It was a big weekend for us and we lose both games," captain Jason Spezza said. "We played good, but it’s a different way to lose every night and results are the only thing that matter right now."
Spezza failed to register a point against the Avalanche after totaling eight in the previous three games. The center has 18 points in 19 home meetings with the Rangers, including the playoffs.
Erik Karlsson hasn’t notched a point in the last two games with New York at Canadian Tire Centre, but he enters this one with four assists in the past three games.