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(Sports Network) - Two longtime clubs going through tough recent stretches will face off this afternoon at New York's Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers will entertain the Boston Bruins.

New York has lost the first two tests of a current three-game homestand, while the Bruins come in having suffered defeats in five of their last six games, including two in a row. The slide has dropped Boston into last place in the competitive Northeast Division.

The Rangers dug themselves a hole they could not climb out of in their most recent outing, as Ottawa scored the game's first five goals and then held on for a 6-4 victory on Thursday.

Jason Ward picked up a goal and an assist for New York, which had won four straight prior to Tuesday's defeat to the rival Islanders. Petr Prucha, Marcel Hossa and Blair Betts also had goals, all them coming in the third period.

Starting netminder Kevin Weekes was shelled, surrendering four goals on 27 shots before Henrik Lundqvist relieved him.

Michael Nylander had an assist for the Rangers to extend his point streak to six games. The veteran center has amassed two goals and seven helpers during the run. Linemate Martin Straka has also been on a tear, having compiled 11 points (five goals, six assists) over his last six games.

The Bruins suffered a close home defeat to the Islanders on Thursday, as Jason Blake registered the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout to hand Boston a 5-4 setback.

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