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Flyers-Rangers Preview @NHLdotcom

Earlier this week, the New York Rangers got help from the Philadelphia Flyers to put them on the brink of clinching a playoff spot.

On Thursday night, they'll try to beat their Atlantic Division rivals at Madison Square Garden to secure their fourth consecutive trip to the postseason.

The Rangers (41-30-9) hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They're two points ahead of Florida, which visits Atlanta on Thursday before ending its regular season against Washington on Saturday.

New York, which also trails seventh-place Montreal by one point, can clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Flyers (43-25-11) in either of their remaining two matchups. The teams close out the regular season at the Wachovia Center on Sunday.

The Rangers' playoff hopes received a huge boost Tuesday, as they beat the Canadiens 3-1 while Philadelphia earned a spot in the postseason with a 2-1 win over the Panthers.

"We are going to go for it Thursday," said Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 24 stops. "It is a big game again. We have a great opportunity to play great now and go into the playoffs feeling really good.

"We're probably not going to focus on clinching. We're just going to focus on playing a really good game and win."

The Rangers won the last matchup with the Flyers 4-1 at MSG on March 15, gaining a split of the season series. That victory is also part of New York's stretch of seven wins in eight home games.

Lundqvist has been key in that span, making every start with a 1.51 goals-against average. He made 24 saves to beat the Flyers on March 15, a night after he had 29 stops and lost 4-2 at Philadelphia.

The All-Star netminder is 1-3-1 with a 4.18 GAA in his last six starts - getting pulled in two of them - against the Flyers.

The Rangers hope Nik Antropov can continue shaking off a knee injury after he scored a diving goal Tuesday. The right wing has seven goals and five assists in 16 games since being acquired from Toronto on March 4.

Antropov has three goals and two assists in his last four games against the Flyers, including a goal in each of the last two meetings as a member of the Rangers.

Philadelphia, which visits the NHL-worst New York Islanders on Saturday, is looking to keep its outside chances at an Atlantic Division title alive. The team trails first-place New Jersey by five points, while holding a game in hand. The Devils visit Ottawa on Thursday before facing Carolina on Saturday.

The Flyers have also played one fewer game than the Hurricanes, who are tied with them for fourth in the East.

"Obviously it's nice to get into the playoffs, but we still have a lot of work to do to get home-ice advantage," center Jeff Carter said after scoring against the Panthers.

Carter has four goals in the last three games to become the 20th player in Flyers' history to score 45 and the first since Simon Gagne had 47 in 2005-06.

Carter, however, hasn't found the back of the net in the last six games against the Rangers and has only four goals in 27 career meetings.

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