The Florida Panthers are heading north and the New York Rangers are going south.
"When we're not scoring goals, it hurts our confidence," New York's Mark Messier said after a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. "We can't let frustration settle in with all the experience on our team. We have to keep our composure."It hasn't been a pretty stretch, though, for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who lost for the eighth time in nine games. Coupled with Florida's 4-1 victory over Tampa Bay, the Rangers dropped a point behind the Panthers in their battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference.
New York's latest loss came one day after a 3-2 victory at Boston had stopped a seven-game losing streak, which tied the fourth-longest streak of futility in club history.
Eric Lindros led the Flyers with two goals and an assist. Lindros' second goal of the game, at 11:23 of the third period, gave the Flyers some breathing room after they took a 3-2 lead after two.
Panthers 4, Lightning 1
Jody Hull, Dave Lowry and Bill Lindsay scored third-period goals as the Panthers beat the Lightning in an all-Florida matchup. The Panthers have a 5-1 record in two years against their state rivals.
Hull put his own rebound past goaltender Daren Puppa at 9:31 for the game-winner, his seventh goal of the season. Less than a minute later, Lowry jumped on a loose puck after a giveaway by defenseman Enrico Ciccone and backhanded a shot past Puppa to give Florida a two-goal lead. Lindsay added an empty-net goal, his seventh, at 19:33.
Nordiques 7, Senators 5
At Quebec, Owen Nolan completed his second hat trick in three games by scoring the go-ahead goal at 4:40 of the third period for the Nordiques.
Nolan, who took over the NHL lead in goals with 27, has three hat tricks this season, one of which came Thursday night against the Rangers in New York. He has seven three-goal games in his career.
Stars 2, Blackhawks 1
Chicago star Jeremy Roenick suffered a knee injury that will keep him out the rest of the season as the Blackhawks lost to the Stars, who got 29 saves from goalie Mike Torchia in his NHL debut.
Mike Donnelly scored the tiebreaking goal with 10:52 left for the Stars, who snapped a four-game road losing streak. But the game was overshadowed by the injury to Roenick, who averaged 50 goals and 106 points as Chicago's top scorer in each of the last three seasons.
Capitals 2, Bruins 1
Kelly Miller scored the go-ahead goal with 2:01 left and rookie Jim Carey stopped 25 shots as the Capitals beat the visiting Bruins.
Miller took a pass from Dale Hunter in the left circle, skated in and put a backhander between the pads of goaltender Blaine Lacher from the top of the crease.
Blues 3, Red Wings 3
At Detroit, Todd Elik's first goal with St. Louis helped the Blues overcome an early 2-0 deficit to tie the Red Wings.
Elik, acquired by the Blues in a March 23 trade with San Jose for Kevin Miller, tipped a shot by teammate Dennis Chasse past Detroit's Mike Vernon during a scramble to forge the tie.
Mighty Ducks 5, Sharks 4
Paul Kariya scored on a power play at 9:02 of the first period, capping a club record for the fastest three goals at the start of a game as the Mighty Ducks beat the Sharks.
The victory was Anaheim's third in three games this season against the Sharks, whose six-game season sweep against the Ducks last season included four one-goal decisions. It also put them within two points of San Jose in the race for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.