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Rangers prepare for ninth Game 7

by Brian Compton /
"The World's Most Famous Arena" will be hosting its fourth Game 7 on Thursday night.

Thanks to the work of youngsters such as Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider -- along with world-class goaltender Henrik Lundqvist -- the Blueshirts managed to stave off elimination Monday night and force a seventh game with a 3-2 win against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

Derek Stepan
Center - NYR
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 16 | +/-: -1
The victory means the Rangers will be participating in their ninth Game 7 in franchise history, and the fourth to be played at Madison Square Garden. It will also be the first Game 7 on Broadway since the Rangers won their only Stanley Cup championship in the last seven decades, when they beat the Vancouver Canucks in a dramatic seventh game in 1994.

New York breathed a huge sigh of relief when Stepan ended the club's scoring drought at 145 minutes and 27 seconds as he beat Craig Anderson via the power play at 8:55 of the second period. Rookie Chris Kreider, who won a national championship with Boston College earlier this month, tallied his first NHL goal in the final minute of the second period.

Lundqvist, meanwhile, finished with 25 saves and improved to just 2-5 in elimination games. Obviously, he and the Rangers are hoping he has another in him Thursday night.

A long time coming -- For the first time since moving to the desert 16 years ago, the Phoenix Coyotes will be a participant in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dave Tippett's club finally got over the hump Monday night, as Mike Smith made 39 saves in the Coyotes' 4-0 win at Chicago. Phoenix took the first-round series in six games and advances to Round 2 to face the Nashville Predators.

It also marks the first time the Phoenix franchise has reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 25 years. The Winnipeg Jets accomplished the feat in 1987 after ousting the Calgary Flames in six games in the Smythe Division Semifinals before losing to Edmonton in the second round.

Monday night's Game 6 against Chicago was the only match in the series that didn't require overtime. The Coyotes and Blackhawks tied the mark set at the 1951 Stanley Cup Final, when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens played an extra session in each of the first five games.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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