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Rangers Clinch Spot in NHL Playoffs



They made it as difficult as possible with losses in back-to-back games to Carolina and Buffalo, but the New York Rangers finally locked up a playoff spot. The win came courtesy of the league’s worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, but when it comes to Rangers-Blue Jackets it’s never easy.

The Rangers got out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to Chris Kreider. In the second period Dan Boyle would make it 2-0 before Nick Foligno got one back for the Blue Jackets. Just before the end of the second, Mats Zuccarello made it 3-1. It appeared as if the Rangers were well on their way, but no one told Foligno that. He got another one back for the Blue Jackets to make the score 3-2. The home team peppered Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers’ net trying to level the score in the third, but the Rangers prevailed, with Derek Stepan sinking an empty net, shorthanded goal that secured 2016 post-season play for the Rangers.

Now the Rangers have a chance to focus on who they will see in the first round. They currently sit in third in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points, three behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers can finish anywhere from second in the division (which would give them home ice advantage in round one) to the second wild card spot. This would mean a range of opponents including the Islanders, Penguins, Capitals, Panthers or Lightning.

This is the Rangers sixth consecutive playoff appearance and their tenth in the last 11 seasons.

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