Rangers look to avoid fourth straight loss

The Rangers open a seven-game homestand Sunday against the Islanders Sunday looking to avoid their fourth straight loss.

The Eastern Conference- leading Blueshirts return home after a two-game road trip that featured losses against Ottawa and Chicago, a pair of point-less efforts that loosened their grip on the top spot in the standings.

The scorching Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won a whopping eight straight, visit New York Thursday in what is expected to be Sidney Crosby's second return. Having whittled the Rangers' Atlantic Division lead to only four points, it is entirely conceivable that they could snatch first place should the Rangers' funk continue.

But first, New York hosts a downtrodden Islanders team that suffered a devastating 2-1 loss to the Devils Saturday in which they saw a 1-0 lead evaporate after New Jersey scored a pair of goals within 14 seconds in the last 1:39 of play.