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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Rangers miss chance for points, but grateful for All-Star Break

By Matt Ehalt

His team had already gotten six points in the first four games of this rigorous stretch of five games in seven days, but Rangers head coach John Tortorella admits he got a little greedy. He wanted to grab more against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Unfortunately for Tortorella, he would have to settle for six points as the Rangers came up short against the Panthers, losing 4-3.

“You need to get greedy, I thought we were going to squeeze out a point tonight, I thought we played well enough to squeeze out a point,” Tortorella said. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll sit down and we won some guys we didn’t deserve, I think it all evens out but it would’ve been nice if were 4-1 instead of 3-2.”

The schedule makers did not do the Rangers any favors by pitting them in five games in seven days to close the first half of the season. Considering the Rangers have been decimated by injuries, this could’ve been a speedbump, but the Blue Shirts performed admirably by winning three of the first four games.

It’s the last game, thought, that left the Rangers wanting more of the stretch. With a chance to grab two more points against a team that had lost seven of its last 10 games, the Rangers fell victim to a couple of goals that came off deflections, including the game winner that bounced off one Rangers’ back and over goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

“We wanted it tonight, obviously, we want to win them all, it’s disappointing right now. It’s a good grind with some injuries but it’s not an excuse,” forward Brian Boyle said. “I think we had a chance tonight where we could’ve played better in some areas…It’s good we get a break, our team needs it, but we got some good points, we got some good road wins, we just want to win at home and its disappointing.”

Yet, even with the loss hanging over their heads, the Rangers are glad the break is coming at this time. The six-day break gives the team a chance to get healthy and allows an exhausted team a chance to recharge the batteries for the second half.

The team already has some good news on the injury front as it announced Tuesday night that forwards Vinny Prospal and Ryan Callahan have been activated from injured reserve.

Now, its time to focus on the playoff push.

Said defenseman Mark Staal: “We’re looking forward to the rest and to heal up and get ready for the end of the season.”