In case you missed it, Winnipeg won and Ottawa lost last night. So the Rangers technically jumped from eighth to seventh, ahead of the Senators on the first tiebreaker (regulation/OT wins, 20-19). Winnipeg remained a point behind both, and the Rangers and Sens each have a game in hand on the Jets. The Rangers are a point behind the sixth-place Islanders, who are in Carolina tonight at 7 p.m.
The Jets are in Washington tonight and can move into first place in the SouthLeast Division and the third seed in the East with a win, though the Capitals also have a game in hand on the Jets, who will have just one game remaining after tonight.
Bottom line: The Rangers can clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight and a regulation loss by Winnipeg. The Rangers can also clinch with four points in their last three games, regardless of what anybody else does.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at FLORIDA PANTHERS
Tuesday, Apr. 23, 7:30 p.m.
BB&T Center – Sunrise, Fla.
Rangers: 24-17-4 (52 pts)
Panthers: 13-26-6 (32 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center (7:30 p.m. — TV: MSG Plus; Radio: 970 The Apple), in their second meeting in five days. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 24-17-4 (52 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-1, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to three games, and are now 8-2-1 in the month of April. New York has won five of its last six games, and is 7-2-1 since the trade deadline. The Panthers enter the contest with a 13-26-6 (32 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last six games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, Apr. 25, at PNC Arena (7:00 p.m.), to wrap up their 2013 regular season road schedule.
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
All-Time: 42-27-6-4 overall (22-14-4-0 at home; 20-13-2-4 on the road)
2013: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the only meeting at BB&T Center. The Rangers are 1-1-0 (1-1-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 6-1 win on Thursday at MSG. The Rangers’ power play is 2-7 (28.6%) in the series, and New York has out-scored Florida, 4-1, in the third period. Rick Nash leads all skaters with three assists and four points in two games, while Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello are tied for the series lead with two goals apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA and .948 Sv%.
Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall (2-0-0 mark at home; 1-1-0 mark on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 14-6, in the series. The Blueshirts’ power play was 3-11 (27.3%), while the penalty kill was 15-16 (93.8%) in four games. Derek Stepan tallied series-highs in goals (three) and points (five) in four games, while Ryan McDonagh led all skaters with three assists. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA and .954 Sv%, and Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 1.89 GAA and .905 Sv%.
The Rangers have won nine of their last 13 games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida, 38-20, over the span
New York ranks 18th in the NHL with a 9-11-2 (20 pts) record on the road; Florida ranks 29th in the NHL with a 7-10-5 (19 pts) mark at home
The Rangers are 9-3-1 vs. the Southeast Division this season; the Panthers are 5-9-0 vs. the Atlantic Division this season
New York lists one former Panther on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09)
Florida lists no former Rangers on their roster
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PANTHERS: Henrik Lundqvist — 24 GP, 15-8-1, 1.72 GAA, 5 SO; Martin Biron — 22 GP, 8-12-1-0, 2.64 GAA; Brad Richards — 52 GP, 17-29-46; Rick Nash — 11 GP, 3-6-9; Michael Del Zotto — 13 GP, 1-5-6.
The Rangers’ power play is 8-36 (22.2%) in the last 10 games, compared to 14.3% with the man advantage prior to the trade deadline
New York has registered a point in 18 of 22 games (16-4-2) when not allowing a power play goal
Power Play: The Rangers tallied a goal in six power play attempts (9:15) on Sunday vs. New Jersey. New York ranks 21st overall (23-141, 16.3%) and 28th on the road (7-64, 10.9%). The Rangers are 3-10 (8:16) in five-on-three situations (last –4/21 vs. NJD), and 2-2 (1:20) when four-on-three (last –4/13 at NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (4): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg); 3/3 vs. BUF (Gerbe); 3/21 vs. FLA (Kopecky, EN).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Devils scoreless in two power play attempts (2:07) on Sunday at MSG. New York ranks 16th overall (114-140, 81.4%) and is tied for 23rd on the road (49-64, 76.6%). The Rangers are 8-8 (8:24) in three-on-five situations (last –4/1 vs. WPG), and 4-4 (4:24) when three-on-four (last –3/18 vs. CAR). Shorthanded goals for (4): 1/20 vs. PIT (Nash); 3/12 at BUF (Stepan); 3/19 at NJD (Del Zotto); 4/1 vs. WPG (Callahan).
Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two four-on-four situations (1:53) on Sunday vs. New Jersey, and are now Even in 31 four-on-four situations (62:48) this season. Four-on-four goals for (2): 1/23 vs. BOS (Gaborik); 4/13 at NYI (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (2): 1/20 vs. PIT (Letang); 1/23 vs. BOS (Horton).
The Rangers have posted a record of 24-6-3 in their last 33 games against Southeast Division opponents, including a 9-3-1 mark against the Southeast Division this season. The Blueshirts have out-scored their Southeast Division opponents, 108-66, over the span.
The Rangers swept their final back-to-back set, defeating the Florida Panthers, 6-1, at MSG on Thursday and the Buffalo Sabres, 8-4, on Friday at First Niagara Center. Their 14 combined goals were the most by the Rangers in consecutive games since Jan. 17-19, 2010 (14 goals), and their most in a back-to-back set since Mar. 1-2, 1992 (16 goals). The Rangers’ eight goals on Friday were their most since Nov. 14, 2010 (8-2 win vs. EDM) and they established a franchise record for fastest five goals, tallying five goals in a span of 2 min. 58 sec. in the contest.
Prior to Thursday’s contest, Rangers Captain Ryan Callahan was named recipient of the 2012-13 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, for performing “above and beyond the call of duty,” for the fourth time in the last five years. He later recorded two power play assists, and was credited with a game-high five hits and three blocked shots, while skating in his 400th career NHL contest in a 6-1 win against Florida.
Henrik Lundqvist posted his 20th win of the season in a 6-1 victory on Thursday against Florida, to become one of five active NHL goalies to reach the 20-win mark in eight consecutive seasons (Brodeur, 12; Luongo, 9; Vokoun, 9; Kiprusoff, 8).
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 29 shots faced to post his first shutout of the season, 44th of his career, in a 1-0 overtime win on Apr. 13 at Long Island. The shutout was Lundqvist’s 50th career total, including six playoff shutouts, tying him with Ed Giacomin as the Rangers’ all-time leader in total shutouts.
FINISHING THE JOB
The Blueshirts have registered a point in 91 consecutive games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 85-0-6 over the span. The Rangers’ last regulation loss in a game when entering the third with the lead was Feb. 4, 2010 (6-5 loss vs. WSH). New York is 15-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories…
3rd (4th in NHL) in GAA — 2.27
1st (1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.4
3rd (4th in NHL) in Hits — 1321
4th (7th in NHL) in BkS — 717
THE HOT LIST:
Henrik Lundqvist — has allowed two or fewer goals in 14 of his last 17 games (11-4-2, 1.80 GAA, .934 Sv%, 1 SO over the span)
Derek Stepan — enters the contest with a four-game point streak (two goals, four assists over the span); has tallied a point in 10 of 11 games in April (six goals, nine assists over the span), and has recorded 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in the last 27 games
Ryan Callahan — enters the contest with a four-game point streak (three goals, three assists over the span), and has tallied 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last 11 games
Brad Richards — enters the contest with a three-game point streak (four goals, three assists over the span)
Rick Nash — 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 11 April games
Ryane Clowe — enters the contest with a three-game point streak (one goal, three assists over the span), and has tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games as a Ranger
Taylor Pyatt — enters the contest with a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists over the span)
Ryan McDonagh — seven points (two goals, five assists) in 11 games during the month of April, including a five-game point streak at MSG (two goals, four assists during the stretch)
Mats Zuccarello — four points (three goals, one assist) in the last four games
Derick Brassard — nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 games as a Ranger
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Steve Eminger — 1 point from 100th NHL career
Brad Richards — 3 games from 900th NHL career
Anton Stralman — 1 point from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
Henrik Lundqvist — 500th career NHL game (4/5 at PIT)
Ryan Callahan — 400th career NHL game (4/18 vs. FLA)
Taylor Pyatt — 800th career NHL game (4/21 vs. NJD)
Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 45
Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 24
Derek Dorsett (broken clavicle, 3/7) — 10
Brian Boyle (injured, 4/16) — 3
Total Man-Games Lost: 121