NHL Game Summary - Montreal at NY Rangers
(Thursday, April 5th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 3, Montreal 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Jaromir Jagr had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves as the New York Rangers clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.
Petr Prucha and Marek Malik also scored for New York, which has won eight of 10 and secured its second straight postseason appearance after missing it the previous seven seasons.
"If you look at it before the season, a lot of people picked us to make the playoffs," Jagr said. "After the All-Star (break) it was tough. We had to win a lot of games to make it."
The feisty Sean Avery had an assist for the Rangers, who moved into the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of idle Tampa Bay. The Lightning, though, have two games remaining, while the Rangers have just one.
"I think it's good for the team. The road hasn't been straight, that's for sure" Lundqvist said. "After Christmas, we came together as a group. The last month has been a lot of fun."
Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves through the first two periods and Cristobal Huet stopped all eight shots he faced in the third for the Canadiens, who had a chance to secure a playoff spot.
Sheldon Souray scored for Montreal, which still sits in eighth place in the conference with 90 points, one ahead of Toronto, which lost to the Islanders on Thursday.
Montreal travels to Toronto on Saturday in the season-finale for both teams.
"We still do control our own destiny, but we could have made it a little easier on ourselves here tonight," Souray said. "We're going to have to play our best game on Saturday. It's for a trip to the playoffs, which is pretty rewarding."
The Rangers started the scoring just 2:53 into the contest. Prucha took the puck into the offensive zone along the right side boards and from the top of the circle slapped a shot that beat Halak low to the stick side.
New York extended its lead with 8:42 left in the second period. After taking Michael Nylander's backhanded pass from the bottom of the left circle, Jagr snapped a shot from near the top of the circle over the glove side of Halak.
Jagr then had a hand in the Rangers' third goal. Just 7:08 after his goal, Jagr sent a cross-ice pass from the right side boards that hit the skate of Avery at the top of the left circle. The puck died and Malik skated on to it and slapped a shot that went by Halak's stick side.
Souray avoided the shutout for the Canadiens, scoring a power-play goal with just under five minutes to play. But that was as close as the Canadiens could get.
Souray's power-play goal was his 19th of the season and 26th overall...Jagr has 96 points this season and is just three points behind Paul Coffey (1,531) for 11th place all-time...New York's regular season ends on Saturday at Pittsburgh...Jagr became the second player in NHL history to score 30-plus goals in 15 consecutive seasons, joining Mike Gartner...Lundqvist has 37 wins this season, tied with Ed Giacomin for the second-most in a single-season for a Ranger. Mike Richter is first with 42.
04/05 23:39:54 ET