It wasn’t necessarily how they intended it to happen, but the Rangers have nonetheless secured a playoff spot for the seventh time in eight years, thanks to an overtime goal by Ryan Callahan. The night started well thanks to a 2-0 lead on goals from Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard, but became more critical when New York gave up three goals to trail late in the third 3-2.
Results in other games of interest weren’t panning out either, with the Jets and Senators leading, and the Isles tied respectively. But, with under three minutes to go in regulation, Brad Richards got a favorable bounce and got the game tied and heading to OT. Carolina came out assertively in the extra frame, but it would be the Rangers’ captain who would make sure that the game Saturday would only be about seeding.
With Toronto picking up two points in their 4-0 win over the Panthers, the Rangers can no longer mathematically catch the Maple Leafs. The highest they can now finish is in 6th, whilst the elimination of the Jets (who lost after both the Rangers and Senators picked up two points), means the lowest the team can finish is 8th.
The Islanders close out their season tomorrow in Buffalo, and would need to pick up more points than the Rangers – who are home Saturday to face the Devils – to have a chance at finishing above them.
Ottawa has two games remaining, at home Saturday against the Flyers, and then on the road in Boston in their finale. Three points in those remaining two games would ensure they finish 6th, while a regulation loss in either of the games would give the Rangers a chance to catch them.