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Rangers' hopes come down to faceoff with Islanders

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers' mastery of the New York

Rangers might be the main reason the New York Rangers miss the

playoffs.

Yannick Tremblay scored a power-play goal at 2:40 of overtime

Monday night to lift the Thrashers to a 4-3 victory over New York

and further dim the Rangers' playoff hopes.

With New York's Eric Lindros in the penalty box for high

sticking, Tremblay scored his seventh of the season with a shot

from the slot that beat Mike Dunham. Atlanta swept the season

series from the Rangers.

''Right at the end we were able to control the puck pretty good

and move the puck around,'' Tremblay said. ''We wanted to play like

we were battling for a playoff spot.''

Marc Savard scored a pair of goals and added an assist for

Atlanta, and Dany Heatley assisted on three goals -- including the

game-winner.

The Rangers trail the New York Islanders by three points with

three games to play in the race for the final playoff spot in the

Eastern Conference. The teams play Tuesday night on Long Island,

and an Islanders' victory would eliminate the Rangers from playoff

contention for the sixth consecutive year.

''We were just trying to knock the Rangers off,'' Savard said.

''Tonight we did it.''

New York's tie clinched a playoff berth for the Boston Bruins.

The Rangers rallied to tie Atlanta twice in the third period,

coming back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.

''I thought it was a great effort,'' Rangers coach Glen Sather

said. ''They busted their rear ends -- every one of them. We played

hard. It was a good hockey game. It's too bad we couldn't win. We

had six chances in the third period where the puck was bouncing all

over the place and it just wouldn't go in.''

Atlanta was 4-0 against the Rangers this season, and the

Thrashers tied the franchise's best unbeaten streak at four games

(3-0-1). They are 17-13-5-1 under coach Bob Hartley, who took over Jan. 14.

''This business is about keeping everyone accountable,'' Hartley

said, ''and we have some good young players. Our veterans are

giving us a great mix and they are competing very well. We are

getting big goals from everyone. I think it is a very good team

win.''

Petr Nedved's 26th goal got the Rangers even at 3 at 16:19 of

the third period. Nedved sent a shot on net that deflected in off

the skate of Atlanta defenseman Mark Hartigan.

''I thought we played hard for 60 minutes,'' Nedved said.

''Unfortunately, we took only one point and we needed both.

Especially in the third period, I thought we played well enough to

win the game.''

Savard gave Atlanta a 3-2 lead at 15:28 with a power-play goal.

Savard converted a feed from Vyachaslev Kozlov in the slot for his

17th goal.

Trailing 2-0 in the third, the Rangers scored a pair of goals

1:48 apart to tie it.

New York pulled to 2-1 on Boris Mironov's sixth goal at 1:05

of the third. Lindros won a faceoff in the Atlanta end and sent the

puck back to Mironov at the right point. The defenseman blasted a

slap shot past Pasi Nurminen.

Mark Messier converted a give-and-go with Nedved at 2:53 to make

it 2-2. Messier passed to Nedved, who circled the Atlanta defense,

then passed back to Messier at the right of the Atlanta goal.

Messier beat Nurminen for his 18th goal of the season.

Atlanta took a 1-0 lead on Savard's 16th goal at 19:50 of the

first period. After Kozlov created an odd-man rush by taking the

puck away from defenseman Brian Leetch at center ice, Savard got

behind the Rangers defense and accepted a pass from the left circle

from Heatley. Savard scored into the top corner of the net to

Dunham's stick side.

Kozlov made it 2-0 with his 21st goal 18 seconds into the second

period. Heatley made another perfect pass, this time from behind

the goal line, and Kozlov slid the puck along the ice into the far

corner of the net.

Savard extended his scoring streak to six games (five goals, six

assists), matching his season high. Heatley extended his point

streak to four games (three goals, seven assists). Heatley has 32

points (14 goals, 18 assists) in his past 24 games.

Game notes
Rangers defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre sprained a ligament in his left

knee in the first period and didn't return. ... Rangers forward

Matthew Barnaby was presented with the Steven McDonald extra effort

award. ... The Thrashers recalled defenseman Kurtis Foster from Chicago of

the AHL.