Rangers Dominate Canadiens, Two Games Remain in Playoff Push
The New York Rangers put on a dominating performance against the visiting Montreal Canadiens that resulted in a 3-1 win for the club. There are now just two games remaining in the season for the Blue Shirts, a home and home series against the rival Philadelphia Flyers.
Chris Drury scored two goals and Ryan Callahan tallied two assists on the evening. The most memorable goal of the game however was notched by Nik Antropov.
Sean Avery was able to pry a loose puck away from Canadiens goalie Carey Price who had left the net. Avery passed the puck towards the front of the net, however it seemed that one of two Canadiens players would retrieve it. Instead, it was Antropov who dove forward with his stick extended to knock the puck in.
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It was in the first several minutes of the second period, and the game had been tied at 1. A hard nosed, high effort play by two late season imports won the day for the Rangers. The Canadiens never recovered in that period, being outshot 15-4 and giving up a second goal. For the game, the Rangers outshot the Canadiens 44-25.
Looking ahead, the Flyers currently sit in 4 th place in the conference, with 97 points compared to the Rangers 91. The Flyers also have an additional, third game, left on their schedule. Despite the malice between the two teams, Rangers fans were actually cheering for the Flyers on Tuesday night.
The Panthers were playing the Flyers, and entering the evening they were tied with the Rangers for the 8 th and final playoff spot, with 89 points. The Flyers prevailed, and the Rangers put on a strong performance, giving the Rangers a now two point lead over Florida.
The tiebreaker also goes in favor of the Rangers. Which means that one win against the Flyers in two chances guarantees a playoff spot. They'll have their first chance on Thursday night in Madison Square Garden. The season will close on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Ideally, the Rangers would move past the Canadiens in the standings to 7th place and the Devils would beat out the Capitals for 2nd place. This would give the Rangers a favorable match-up against a less-than-hot club. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is sensational against the club's New Jersey rivals, and Sean Avery draws enough ire to free up anybody else on the ice.
But most important of all is ensuring any playoff spot. Even an 8 th place finish wouldn't be a terrible match-up for the Rangers. They split the season series with 1 st place Boston this year. Two games, two chances. The Rangers control their own fate.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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