The Rangers certainly didn't lavish Marian Gaborik with $37.5 million over five seasons to be a defensive stopper.

But in an effort to spark his offense, coach John Tortorella is finding time on the penalty kill for the right wing.

"You're in the flow," said Gaborik, who brings a seven-game streak without a goal – one away from tying his longest drought of the season – into tonight's game against the Kings at Madison Square Garden.

"It's a situation on the penalty kill also where the coaches are trusting you," added Gaborik, who has 16 goals and 21 assists in 43 games. "You want to do the best you can."

The Rangers are battling the Hurricanes, Sabres and Thrashers for the Eastern Conference's final two playoff spots after snapping a season-high six-game losing streak with Sunday's 5-3 win over the Penguins.

Gaborik logged a season-high 2:06 of short-handed ice time as the Rangers' penalty kill was 5-for-6 against the Penguins. He played 1:09 on the penalty kill in Friday's 3-2 loss at Atlanta after essentially not playing short-handed the previous seven games – he had eight seconds combined.

"I think it helps his game," Tortorella said. "I like using offensive people killing penalties. It's just been a little bit of a battle as we've gone through here with Gabby but we're trying to get him more shifts that way. We're trying to get him to grow and we're trying to get him some more ice time."

Against the Thrashers, Gaborik's short-handed breakaway led to an unsuccessful penalty shot.