The New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings are doing a fine job improving their draft lottery position. But the momentum toward attaining a high pick will be slowed for one of those teams on Thursday when they face each other in Detroit.
The Rangers (27-28-11, 65 points) have lost their last five games, while the Red Wings (23-33-10, 56) carry an eight-game slide into the matchup. Both occupy the same spot in their respective divisions, with the Rangers entrenched in the seventh spot in the Metropolitan and the Red Wings seventh in the Atlantic.
They're also both coming off one-goal losses on Tuesday. The Rangers were blanked by Dallas 1-0, while the Wings lost in overtime at rival Colorado, 4-3.
According to the latest NHL Draft Lottery Simulator, Detroit has a 38.8 percent chance of getting a top-three selection in the June Entry Draft and a 13.5 percent chance of gaining the top pick. The Rangers have a 19 percent chance of picking in the top three and a 6 percent chance of landing the top prize.
Naturally, the players and coaches would rather be winning games than improving their lottery status.
All but one of New York's losses during its skid have been decided by one goal. The Rangers' inability to score wasted a strong defensive effort against the Stars.
"We've got to put some pucks in the back of the net," defenseman Brady Skjei told NHL.com. "Finish some games. Get some wins."
"Since I've gotten here, four games, they've all been close," said forward Brendan Lemieux, who was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets late last month. "We're getting beat by a goal or just inches right now."
The losing streak matches the Rangers' longest of the season. Theoretically, they are still in the playoff hunt, but it's a pipe dream. New York had dropped 14 points behind the final wild-card berth entering Wednesday's action with 16 games remaining.
"It just wasn't a great effort from our end of it," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "I shouldn't say effort, but I thought, mentally, we were not very purposeful on what we were trying accomplish." >> Read More
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