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Gaborik tries to find answers for scoring slump

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Gaborik tries to find answers for scoring slump
The New York Rangers are having troubles scoring in their playoff series against Washington, and no one is having a tougher time than Marian Gaborik.
WASHINGTON -- Marian Gaborik's 11-game goal drought has officially reached the point where even he is coming up with new and innovative ideas on how to break out of the slump.

"I just to have to relax a little bit and I guess close my eyes or something," Gaborik said Friday night following the New York Rangers' 2-0 loss to the Washington Capitals  in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

The Rangers head back to Madison Square Garden for Sunday afternoon's Game 3 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS) in a 2-0 hole and with one goal in 138 minutes, 24 seconds in the series. Gaborik hasn't scored since March 20 and has just eight shots through two games against the Capitals.

In a series where scoring has been at a premium, the lack of production from the six-time 30-goal scorer who had 42 goals last season is hurting a team that already has a hard time consistently getting three goals in a game. Gaborik's few chances have been from dangerous areas, but he hasn't been able to solve Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

"If it was, it'd be in the net," Gaborik said when asked if his shot is where he wants it to be. "In that crucial time, I just have to bear down. Maybe, I'm squeezing the stick too hard. I just have to keep shooting."

Two of Gaborik's best chances Friday came off a rush down the right wing in the first period and off a broken play in the third period that resulted in him alone in the slot with the puck on his stick. Both times, Neuvirth was up to the challenge.

Gaborik is hardly alone when it comes to the Rangers' inability to score -- Brandon Prust had a gaping net in the third period but couldn't put the puck into it. But after 42 goals in the regular season in 2009-10, the pressure will fall squarely on the shoulders of the 29-year-old sniper if the Rangers want to make this a long series. He played Friday on a newly created line with Erik Christensen and Vinny Prospal, but the results remained the same.

"It's pretty frustrating obviously," Gaborik said. "You can't win with one goal. We have to try to do everything we can to get the goals -- try to get the ugly goal, make sure we go into traffic and be in (Neuvirth's) face and shoot the puck as much we can.

"We lost two games here, but you have to try to slip past it. We've got another two games at home and we need to regroup and keep our heads up."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo


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I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets