NHL Game Summary - Toronto at NY Rangers
(Wednesday, April 7th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Toronto 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Erik Christensen netted a pair in a three-goal first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves, as the Rangers kept pace in the playoff race with a 5-1 win over Toronto at Madison Square Garden.
Vinny Prospal and Olli Jokinen both registered a goal and an assist for New York, which rebounded from Tuesday's 5-2 drubbing by the Sabres. Lundqvist got pulled early in the second period in Buffalo, the final stop of a six-game road trip during which the Rangers posted a 4-1-1 record.
New York moved one point behind Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining. The Rangers are also two points behind seventh-seeded Philadelphia. New York and the Flyers close out the regular season in a home-and-home series, beginning Friday at MSG.
Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was beaten five times on 32 shots.
"We're making a lot of rookie mistakes," Maple Leafs forward Viktor Stalberg said. "We're turning too many pucks over."
Desperate to keep its playoff hopes alive, New York erupted for three goals in the first period.
After Gustavsson's clearing attempt around the boards was foiled, Brandon Dubinsky got the puck behind the enemy cage and dished out front to an uncovered Christensen, who nudged it across the goal line 21 seconds into the contest.
"We felt the key part of the game was our forechecking, trying to pressure them," said New York head coach John Tortorella. "Starting with the first shift, that is what we did. You're always looking to get off to a fast start after a loss in a back-to-back situation."
Prospal then buried a rebound at 10:26. Jokinen gathered an outlet pass from Michal Rozsival, but was denied on a breakaway. Prospal followed up the play and banged home the loose disc past the prone goaltender.
The Rangers led 3-0 only 30 seconds later when Christensen swept a backhander through the legs of Gustavsson.
Dion Phaneuf put the Maple Leafs on the board with a slap shot from the point at the 8:09 mark of the third period.
However, Jokinen restored a three-goal cushion at 10:51, and Aaron Voros made it a 5-1 game at 12:35.
Dubinsky had two assists...The Rangers are 6-1-1 in their last eight games...New York took three of four from the Maple Leafs this season...Toronto wraps up its season Saturday in Montreal.
04/08 02:06:31 ET