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Posted On Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 2:46 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

Rangers reclaim eighth with 5-2 victory

The Rangers did everything they could Saturday afternoon to get themselves into the postseason. Now they have to hope for a little help.

Chris Drury scored his first goal of the season in his first game in more than two months, and Ryan McDonagh scored the winner as the Rangers took care of business by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.

It's now up to the Tampa Bay Lightning to the beat the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. If the Hurricanes win, they will get the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot while the Rangers will be left out for the second season in a row.

Vinny Prospal put the icing on the cake by converting a 2-on-1 pass from Artem Anisimov at 10:49 of the third period.
Posted On Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 2:05 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

After two periods: Rangers take 4-2 lead

It didn't take long for the Rangers to tie it in the second period. Wojtek Wolski beat Brodeur during a 2-on-1 with a quick, accurate shot to the stick side at 1:52.

Ryan McDonagh's first NHL goal gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with 8:01 remaining in the second. The rookie defenseman skated down from the blue line, corralled a pass from Vinny Prospal from behind the net and whipped a wrister over Brodeur's catching glove.

Brandon Prust made it 4-2 with 3:54 left in the second period when he banged home a big rebound off a Brandon Dubinsky shot. The puck slid on under Brodeur, who had allowed four goals on 15 shots to that point.

Shots were 11-10 Devils in the third period.

Should the score hold, the Hurricanes will have to beat the Lightning to reach the postseason. They can win in regulation, overtime or shootout. It doesn't matter how they do it.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 12:55 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

Kovalchuk, Drury exchange early goals

It started off pretty badly for the Rangers. They fell behind 1-0 after just 2:03 when Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 31st of the season. He ripped a wrister that looked like it deflected past Henrik Lundqvist, but the goal was credited to Kovalchuk.

The lively crowd at MSG turned angry. But Chris Drury, who hadn't scored a goal all season, responded with perhaps the biggest goal the Rangers have scored all season 1:11 later. He got behind the Devils defense and chipped a diving backhander past Martin Brodeur to bring life back to the Garden.

From there, the Rangers began throwing the body around. Matt Gilroy crushed Vladimir Zharkov behind the Rangers net, and Brian Boyle responded with a couple hits of his own in the Devils' end.

Halfway through the first period, it's 1-1.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 12:11 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

Pregame: Line combinations for Rangers, Devils

John Tortorella wouldn't reveal his line combinations before the game, but perhaps pregame warmups will let us know what the Rangers have in store.

During line rushes, it looked like this:



And since there is another team involved in the game, here's a look at the Devils lines:



The goaltenders, obviously, will be Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers and Martin Brodeur for the Devils.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 10:32 AM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

Drury, Zuccarello returning for showdown with Devils

Desperate for a victory, the Rangers are turning to their captain for a shot of adrenaline.

Chris Drury, who has been out since Feb. 5 with a knee injury, will make his return against the Devils on Saturday afternoon. He's been practicing with the team, and coach John Tortorella felt he was ready.

"Dru is Dru. He's been wanting to go for a little bit here," Tortorella said. "I'm not sure exactly how much he'll play. We'll see. He'll take some faceoffs, he'll kill some penalties. He gives us a little bit of juice as far as him coming back. Our captain's back in the lineup. We'll see how it goes as we proceed in the game."

Tortorella, who usually is very forthcoming with line combinations pregame, was more evasive this time when asked who Drury would be playing with.

"Not sure," Tortorella said, before being a bit more honest. "I am sure, but I'm not telling you."

Drury's season has been marred by injuries. He dealt with a broken finger throughout the preseason, then broke that same finger in a different spot in the third game of the season. It cost him 29 games, and he's only played in 23 games this season.

Drury has zero goals and 4 assists, but his presence could be the difference in a game the Rangers are treating as a must-win.

"I think he's well-respected. Dru's not a holler guy in the room. He leads by example," Tortorella said. "I think when you look at him, how hard he's worked at coming back with a chronic knee here, I think that just adds something to your locker room. He's just so well-respected by his teammates. He's been known to make big plays at big times in big games. We'll see where it goes as we start playing the game."

Along with Drury, shootout specialist Mats Zuccarello is back in the lineup after he was sent down to the AHL's Connecticut Whale on April 1. Last season, the Rangers lost their final game of the regular season to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout, one that saw Olli Jokinen get stopped by goaltender Brian Boucher to end it.

Zuccarello is 5-for-9 in shootouts this season.

Coming out of the lineup are defenseman Steve Eminger and forward Sean Avery. Defenseman Matt Gilroy, who played at right wing against the Thrashers on Thursday, will drop back to the blue line and play with Bryan McCabe.

"Let me make sure you understand -- Emmy has given us some really good minutes," Tortorella said. "I thought he stepped in really nice (vs. Boston) when (Ryan) McDonagh was struggling a bit. That was a tough decision.

"But we're hoping maybe to get out of our end zone a little bit quicker with Gilly as far as our first pass and maybe add some offense."

The scenario is simple for the Rangers -- earn more points than the Carolina Hurricanes today. If the Rangers lose in regulation to the Devils, it's all over. If they can at least get a point in an overtime/shootout loss, the Rangers can still get into the playoffs if the Hurricanes lose in regulation to the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Friday, 04.08.2011 / 10:43 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Devils-Rangers: A live-blog

Rangers must earn a point to keep playoff hopes alive

Everything that could've gone wrong for the Rangers did on Friday night.

The Carolina Hurricanes easily handled the Atlanta Thrashers 6-1, one night after the Thrashers came away with a 3-0 victory against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The win moved the Hurricanes into eighth place and knocked the Rangers down to ninth entering the season's final weekend.

The Rangers also received no help from the Philadelphia Flyers, who squandered a third-period lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres, who clinched a playoff spot when the game went to overtime.

Things couldn't be more simple for the Rangers, who must simply earn more points than the Hurricanes on Saturday to get into the postseason. The Hurricanes play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. A win puts the Hurricanes into the playoffs no matter what the Rangers do. Making matters worse for the Rangers, the Lightning are entrenched in the fifth seed and can't move up or down in the standings no matter what happens.

If the Rangers lose in regulation to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon at MSG, they are eliminated. If they can just earn a point in overtime, a regulation loss by the Hurricanes gets the Rangers into the postseason.

Starting at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, I'll have live updates on everything, from the Rangers' lineup changes to the live action from the game. Check back often for the latest news and info from the afternoon tilt.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
World Cup of Hockey 2016