NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators moved into a Stanley Cup Playoff position and took control of their fate Thursday after being 14 points out two months ago.
The Senators defeated the New York Rangers 3-0 at Madison Square Garden with 26 saves from Andrew Hammond and goals from Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Ottawa will clinch a playoff berth Saturday by getting one point in its game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center (12:30 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, RDS2, TSN5).
"We can't do anything else other than just keep winning," Turris said. "We're trying to do that and see where it goes after that."
The Senators (42-26-13) are the first wild card from the Eastern Conference but can finish third in the Atlantic Division with a win Saturday coupled with a regulation loss by the Detroit Red Wings against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Ottawa has 97 points, one fewer than Detroit, one more than the Pittsburgh Penguins and two more than the Boston Bruins, who fell out of playoff position with a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The Penguins have two games remaining.
The Senators are 22-4-4 since Feb. 10, including 5-0-1 in their past six games.
"I've never been on a run like this with a hockey team and it's been special," MacArthur said. "It's hard to overanalyze it yet. You want to get in. That's the whole goal. But it's been a lot of fun all the way. Guys have been playing great, and the character of this team, it's been awesome."
The Rangers (52-22-8), who had a ceremony prior to the game to receive the Presidents' Trophy from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, played without forwards Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello, and defensemen Marc Staal and Kevin Klein.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Nash, Zuccarello and Klein are injured and day-to-day. Klein missed his 15th straight game with an arm injury.
"They were missing key guys," MacArthur said. "We know they're a deep squad and it makes a big difference when you've got your top dogs out."
New York closes its regular season Saturday against the Washington Capitals. Vigneault said Klein will not play in that game but expects him to be ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round.
It's possible the Rangers would play the Senators. New York will play the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.
"We want to be playing top-notch hockey when you are heading into the playoffs," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We weren't perfect [Thursday]. It's hard to explain. We were trying to do the right thing but we couldn't get those shots inside and get a lot of pressure on them. They did a good job clogging the middle. Obviously we'd like more effort, but there's nothing you can really do about it."
Ottawa took a 2-0 lead on goals by MacArthur and Turris in the final 2:29 of the second period.
MacArthur scored his 16th of the season at 17:31 on a one-timer from the slot off a feed from forward Mark Stone. Turris scored his 24th on a deflection of defenseman Eric Gryba's wrist shot from the right point at 18:35.
MacArthur's goal came 21 seconds after Hammond got back in time to make a save on Rangers center Kevin Hayes from the left circle. Hayes appeared to have an open net to shoot at after forward J.T. Miller found him with a hard cross-ice pass, but he struggled to settle the puck, and once he did he waited too long, allowing Hammond to get back into position.
"It always seems to happen that way," MacArthur said. "[Hammond] has made those clutch saves the whole run. A lot of credit goes to him. He's fueled the team with the confidence, and for us to answer back after that save, it was timely to get those two and it was nice to hold on."
Turris, who had an assist on MacArthur's goal, has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in the past 15 games. MacArthur has nine points in the past eight games, and Stone has 11 points during his eight-game point scoring streak.
"Through this stretch we've had all kinds of guys take the bull by the horns, and that's what you need," Ottawa coach Dave Cameron said.
New York had the better of play early in the game, outshooting Ottawa 7-1 through the first eight minutes. The Senators, though, felt if they withstood the early pressure they would eventually find their legs and catch a break.
That's what has been happening throughout their run. It happened again when Hayes couldn't get off a shot in time and the Senators came down and scored quickly.
"It's called pressure," Cameron said. "It was a big game. You just work yourself through it. Pressure is something that you can't practice, something you have to learn. The fact that we got through that [first] period and didn't give up a whole lot we were able to take a deep breath. We're learning to handle pressure."
The Senators have to do it in one more game in order to get a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, an opportunity that seemed impossible two months ago.
"Play in one more pressure game Saturday," Stone said. "Can't ask for much more than that."