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Rangers host Devils in regular-season finale

by Mike G. Morreale /

DEVILS (19-18-10) at RANGERS (25-18-4)


Last 10: New Jersey 4-5-1; New York 7-3-0

Season series: The New York Rangers have won two of the previous three matchups. Back on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers eliminated the New Jersey Devils from Stanley Cup Playoff contention with a 4-1 victory when Ryan Callahan scored twice and Derek Stepan added a goal and one assist.

Big story: The New York Rangers put together a 9-3-1 run down the stretch to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. They locked up a playoff berth on Thursday when captain Ryan Callahan scored 2:55 into overtime to give the Blueshirts a 4-3 victory.

"We've been playing the playoffs the last two weeks," Callahan said after the game. "We've known that a lot of these games were must win, and I think that's important that we play that style of hockey going in."

Team Scope:

Devils: The Devils won their fourth in five games on Thursday when they rallied for a 3-2 decision over the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center. After spotting the Penguins a 2-0 lead, New Jersey received goals by Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk. Goalie Johan Hedberg, the likely starter on Saturday, made 16 saves in his first victory since March 13. Kovalchuk's game-winner, his 11th of the season and first since March 13, came 13:50 into the third period.

Rangers: It was the second of three games in which the Rangers could lock up a playoff berth and it didn't come easy. The Rangers blew a 2-0 lead, and needed a late power-play goal by Brad Richards to tie it before Callahan's heroics in OT.

"Excitement, joy, relief," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "We're proud. We've been working hard to get in. There's a lot of good teams now. It's not easy to make the playoffs. We should be really proud of how we came together, especially the last three or four weeks."

Who's hot: Callahan has a season-high six-game point streak (four goals, five assists) for the Rangers. … Devils forward Patrik Elias has three goals and five points in his past four games.

Injury report: New York forward Brian Boyle (lower body) is doubtful, in addition to forward Derek Dorsett (collarbone) and defenseman Marc Staal (right eye). Callahan (hand) and Ryan Clowe (lower body) are questionable. … Devils captain Bryce Salvador (wrist) is out.

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