NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at NY Rangers
(Thursday, April 9th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 2, Philadelphia 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Henrik Lundqvist stood tall down the stretch and finished with 37 saves to help the New York Rangers clinch a playoff spot for the fourth straight year with a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden.
Markus Naslund and Ryan Callahan collected the goals for New York, and Chris Drury posted two assists while Lundqvist tied his own career mark for wins in a season with 37.
The Rangers moved into a virtual tie for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference with Montreal at 93 points apiece, although New York does hold the edge via wins with 43. Montreal picked up a point in the OT loss to Boston and clinched the East's final playoff seed.
"Congratulations to the players, they fought through the last couple months with a lot going on with the team," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella, who took over the team February 23 when Tom Renney was fired. "We found a way to get in. With so many races going down to the wire here took it as an opportunity. We kept on fighting to get through that game and win it. We're happy we're in and we need to keep on improving and see where we are at the end of the year."
The Rangers posted their 26th home win in the final test of the regular season at MSG, the most since the 1993-94 season when New York captured the Stanley Cup to end a 54-year drought.
New York completes its schedule Sunday in Philadelphia. However, this is not a home-and-home series, as the Flyers are playing a road game against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Montreal ends its season by hosting Pittsburgh Saturday.
Danny Briere got the goal for Philadelphia, while Martin Biron turned back 29- of-31 shots in the setback, the club's fourth in its last six games.
The Flyers secured a playoff spot with Tuesday's victory over the visiting Panthers, which also helped New York move into position for its clinching win.
Philadelphia has 97 points and remained tied with Carolina and now Pittsburgh for the fourth seed in the East after the Hurricanes lost to Buffalo and the Penguins downed the Islanders on Thursday. The 'Canes and Pens both have one game left in the regular season, while Philly has two remaining.
"We're still in control of our own destiny which is nice. It would have been nice to take a good step tonight but what's done is done," said Briere. "We need a win at the Islanders to get back on track. We had lots of shots and attacked from every angle. You have to give him (Lundqvist) credit but we have to find ways to get it done in tight games like that in the playoffs."
New York grabbed the lead just 52 seconds in on a questionable non-call in the crease. Biron appeared to cover a Drury shot, but there was no whistle, and the Rangers kept whacking away at the netminder as he drifted back into the net amid a pile of surging players. Referee Don VanMassenhoven signaled goal and, despite a protest from Philadelphia head coach John Stevens, it was allowed.
"I don't know. The puck bounced funny and I went to cover, then I didn't know where it was. I tried to keep my stick and glove above the goal line because I was being pushed in. I tried to forget about it and refocus," said Biron of the disputed goal.
A Callahan shot through traffic from the high slot made it 2-0 at 12:06 of the first.
Briere took a cross-ice feed from Mike Richards at the left side of the net for a power-play goal at 9:14 of the second to halve the lead.
Lundqvist robbed Daniel Carcillo point-blank with the glove close to 4 1/2 minutes into the third to preserve the lead.
The Flyers were robbed by the iron later, as Briere's shot that rang off the left post with about four minutes remaining, but Lundqvist's 10 stops in the third ultimately clinched the all-important win.
The Rangers have a solid 26-11-4 record as the host this year and have won four straight and eight of their last nine home contests...Philadelphia is 19-14-7 as the road club this year and has dropped its last three as the visiting club...The Rangers took a 3-2 lead in the season series and are 10-3-2 in the last 15 against the Flyers...New York's late run to the postseason included a 14-4-2 mark over the last 20 games.
04/10 00:18:33 ET