The New York Rangers don't seem to miss Wayne Gretzky.
Since the Great One was sidelined with a neck injury on March 29, the Rangers have gone on a 4-0-1 streak -- including Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Mike Richter made 37 saves and John MacLean, Niklas Sundstrom and Kevin Stevens scored as the Rangers boosted their playoff hopes. They moved within two points of the Bruins for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
It was the first win for the Rangers in Boston since a 5-2 triumph on Nov. 2, 1996. The Bruins are 4-1-1 in that stretch.
"I don't care if we took (more) shots, it wouldn't have been enough," said the Bruins' Tim Taylor. "It's tough enough going against him (Richter), but when you give him a two-goal lead in the third period, it's impossible."
The loss was the Bruins' second in their last three games.
"This is the 'week' for this hockey team," said Bruins coach Pat Burns, whose team hosts Florida on Tuesday and plays the Rangers at New York on Friday.
Richter extended his personal unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1).
"These are the games we have to win if we are going to make the playoffs," Richter said.
The Rangers came into the game having allowed eight powr-play goals in their last 81 times short. But the Rangers stopped the Bruins six times, including a two-man advantage in the second period.
Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe stopped 15 shots.
MacLean gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:32 of the first period with a shot from the top of the right circle. It was his 23rd goal of the season and first in the last three games.
"That was a big one for us because it kept the Bruins from going into their trap," said Rangers coach John Muckler. "When they go into the trap you have to pick your way through the neutral zone."
Despite being shorthanded, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead at 15:14 of the second period when Sundstrom scored his 12th goal with a shot from the left circle. Sundstrom has two goals and two assists in the last two games.
Landon Wilson broke up the shutout, scoring his first goal in the NHL at 12:25 of the third period on a shot from the slot.
Stevens clinched it for New York with his 16th goal at 13:51 of the third period.
"We'd rather play the Rangers without Gretzky," said Bruins general manager Harry Sinden. "If he had been in there it would have been five or six to one."
Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson left the game at 15:04 of the first period after being checked into the boards by Ken Belanger. Belanger was assessed a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct penalty. The extent of Samuelsson's injuries were not announced but he did not return to the ice.
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