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Rangers secure first wild card in East

Still have chance to finish third in Metropolitan after win against Flyers

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers ended their home losing streak and secured at least the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Rangers (47-26-6) had lost their previous eight games (0-5-3) at home. It's their first win at the Garden since Feb. 19.

"Important in so many ways here to get this win," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said after making 20 saves for his first win since March 7.

 

WATCH: All Flyers vs. Rangers highlights

 

New York has 100 points and can't finish lower than the first wild card because the two teams among the six still alive in the East that can finish with more points are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. If they do, the Maple Leafs and Senators will be second and third in the Atlantic Division. The Boston Bruins can't finish with more than 98 points.

The Rangers are technically still alive for third place in the Metropolitan Division because of tiebreakers, but the more likely scenario has them shifting into the Atlantic Division bracket as the first wild card and playing the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Video: PHI@NYR: Zibanejad wires PPG past Stolarz in the 2nd

"Sometimes when you're right in it there are so many things you want to work on and do better, but when you take a step outside and look at the big picture it's a 100-point season and a lot of good things for this group," Lundqvist said.

The Flyers (38-33-8), who entered with a four-game win streak, were eliminated from playoff contention. It's the third time in five seasons they have missed the playoffs.

Philadelphia has been outscored 83-68 in the third period this season.

"We had a lot of opportunities this year to get some points; in tight games and in the third period we weren't able to get it done," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "I think it happened too often and that is why we are in the situation we're in right now."

Mats Zuccarello had three assists, giving him team-highs in points (59) and assists (44). Mika Zibanejad, Brendan Smith, Oscar Lindberg and Chris Kreider all scored.

Video: PHI@NYR: Lindberg slides home his own rebound in 3rd

Valtteri Filppula scored two goals and Brayden Schenn one for the Flyers. Anthony Stolarz made 20 saves.

Filppula and Schenn each scored 6-on-5 goals in the final 2:06 of the third period.

The Flyers also had a 6-on-4 power play for the final 44.6 seconds, but Lundqvist was the difference by making a terrific glove save on Claude Giroux's one-timer from the top of the left circle with 13.9 seconds left.

"Everybody emptied the tank in the last few minutes," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

Video: PHI@NYR: Filppula nets rebound to pull Flyers closer

Filppula gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 33 seconds into the second period. Zibanejad scored on the power play at 3:57 and Smith scored at 7:10. It was Smith's first goal since the Rangers acquired him in a trade on Feb. 28.

Lindberg extended the lead to 3-1 at 7:01 of the third period. Kreider made it 4-1 at 9:10.

 

Goal of the game

At the time it looked like adding on, but Kreider's goal turned into the game-winner. The Flyers couldn't clear the puck and Brady Skjei got it at the left point. He moved it down the wall to Stepan in the left circle. Stepan's shot was deflected by Kreider past Stolarz's blocker and in.

Video: PHI@NYR: Kreider's clever redirect beats Stolarz

 
Save of the game

Lundqvist's momentum was going toward his right but he had to reach out his glove to his left to catch Giroux's one-timer late in the third period.

Video: PHI@NYR: Lundqvist flashes leather on Giroux in 3rd

 
Highlight of the game

Smith skated through what would have been a penalty on Travis Konecny and received a pass from Zuccarello. He got in behind Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning, alone on Stolarz, deked to his backhand and lifted a shot over the goalie's glove into the top right corner of the net.

Video: PHI@NYR: Zuccarello, Smith combine for slick goal

 
Unsung performance of the game

Tanner Glass was inserted into the Rangers lineup to provide a physical element. He was credited with six hits and one blocked shot in 12:54 of ice time.

 

They said it

"We played really good and for 58 minutes. It was probably one of our better efforts here defensively, just a smart game. Then the last two minutes, we made a couple of decisions with the puck that we just need to do a little bit better. But for 58 minutes, it was one of our better games." -- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist

 

Need to know

Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh missed his second consecutive game because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Alain Vigneault said McDonagh is dealing with an injury that had been lingering, but he's close to 100 percent. ... Stolarz was playing for the third straight night. He also played for Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Friday and made 26 saves in relief of Michal Neuvirth in the Flyers' 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

 

What's next

Flyers: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-PH, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Washington Capitals on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Zuccarello's three helpers lead Rangers past Flyers

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