Rangers Fall to Hurricanes 4-2
Hoping to work themselves into 6 th place in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night, the Rangers instead find themselves barely hanging onto the 8 th position. After losing in Carolina 4-2, the Rangers have 89 points with four games left to play.
In 9 th place lies the Florida Panthers, with a game in hand and 87 points. The three teams closest ahead of the Rangers, the Flyers, Penguins and Canadiens are all within three points. However, all have a game in hand as well.
The season ending schedule could not have been written any better for the club, or any worse, depending on the results of the four, crucial remaining games. Next up is a trip to Boston to play the conference leading Bruins. After that, the last three games will have a huge direct impact on the entire playoff race, for the Rangers and several other teams in the hunt.
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Next Tuesday the Rangers play the Canadiens at home, Montreal is currently in 7 th place with 90 points. Then the season ends with a home and home series against the Flyers, who are in 5 th place with 92 points. Winning all of those games will see the club ascend to a better position and make the playoffs, while a loss in any of those games will have a doubly bad effect.
The Rangers and Hurricanes were tied entering the third period at 2-2. However, it was the Hurricanes who were lucky to be in that position. In the first period, the Rangers had four consecutive power plays in a span of ten minutes and failed to capitalize on any of them. Goalie Cam Ward was sensational for the Hurricanes and he needed to be, the Rangers out shot the 'Canes 38-23.
With less than eight minutes of regulation left, Chad Larose shoveled in a goal on the open side of the net from a great pass by Jussi Jokinen. It was Larose's 2 nd of the night and his 18 th of the season. As the fans erupted in celebration, just 30 seconds later Rod Brind'Amour deflected a shot from Dennis Seidenberg past Henrik Lundqvist. Just like that, in a game the Rangers should have had under control, the Hurricanes captured the decisive edge.
Earlier in the evening, Eric Staal opened the scoring with a power play goal just five minutes into the game, his 35 th on the year. The Rangers answered when recently called up defenseman Corey Potter scored his first NHL goal, which tied the score at 1 a piece at the end of the first period. After Larose's first goal of the game, giving Carolina a 2-1 edge, Dan Girardi scored on the Rangers power play, which left the score at 2 all entering the final stanza.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com NY Rangers Correspondent
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