Rangers Notebook: Eastern Conference playoff race continues to be close
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault needed only two words to summarize the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“Everybody’s winning,” Vigneault said at the Garden Sunday night, hours before the Rangers met the Bruins in a nationally televised match with postseason implications.
The Rangers entered the game with 69 points — seventh in the East. They trail sixth-seeded Philadelphia by one point after a weekend that saw the Flyers beat the Rangers, 4-2, Saturday afternoon, and score three goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation and overtime to complete a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Capitals on Sunday.
No. 8-seed Detroit and No. 9-seed Washington are one point behind the Rangers.
“We have to win,” Vigneault said.
Dorsett out again
There was one change to the lineup Sunday night as right wing Derek Dorsett was scratched in favor of center Dominic Moore.
Vigneault had dressed Dorsett in Saturday’s loss in Philadelphia. The games was his first action since he suffered a broken leg in a 5-2 loss to the Penguins on Jan. 3. Dorsett was minus-1 in 8:42 of ice time, which included a two-minute minor penalty for high-sticking Flyers center Vinny Lecavalier.
“[Dorsett] needs to practice a little bit more, work on his timing,” Vigneault said of the wing who appeared tentative against the Flyers. “[We] have a couple [practice] days this week so we’ll figure it out.”
Dorsett has just five points (three goals, two assists) in 38 games.
Vigneault stressed the issue with Dorsett was not physical.
“He’s fine,” Vigneault said. “It’s just a question of timing right now. I think condition-wise [he's] pretty close but having missed more than seven weeks, it’s going to take a couple games.”
Dorsett, who has one more year remaining on a three-year, $4.9 million contract signed with the Blue Jackets, has been a physical presence for the Rangers this season with 105 penalty minutes in 38 games. He has also provided a penalty killing element, averaging 1:01 of ice time on the man down units.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.