New York Rangers clinch playoff spot; hit 100 points with dominant win over Senators
The New York Rangers had an opportunity to clinch their first playoff berth since 2016-17 and did so in a dominant performance.
In the process, the Blueshirts have also hit the 100 point mark last done in 2016-17 (102 points). With the 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, they’ve moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Earlier today, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Washington Capitals 6-3, which opens the gap for home ice in the first round to 8 points.
“That was our primary goal coming into the season,” Chris Kreider said about clinching a playoff spot on MSG. “We’ve got 9 games left and we will work on things to get better.”
Recap: Rangers 5 vs Senators 1
Chris Kreider scored twice Saturday for the host New York Rangers, who clinched a playoff berth and moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division by producing the final five goals in a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
The Rangers (47-20-6, 100 points) will be appearing in the main playoff bracket for the first time since the spring of 2017. New York fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in a qualifying round in the summer of 2020, when the playoffs were expanded to 24 teams after the COVID-19 pandemic ended the regular season in March.
Kreider scored the Rangers’ third and fifth goals to increase his season total to 49, which ties him the fourth-most in a single season in team history with Mike Gartner (1990-91). Jaromir Jagr set the record with 54 goals in 2005-06.
Artemi Panarin, Andrew Copp and Ryan Strome also scored for the Rangers, who tied the idle Hurricanes for first place while extending their lead to eight points over the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Penguins fell to the visiting Washington Capitals 6-3 earlier Saturday
New York goalie Igor Shesterkin made 21 saves.
Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider dominate
Watson scored 2:22 into the first before Panarin began the Rangers’ flurry with 7:28 left in the period, when he scored an unassisted goal off a Senators turnover following a faceoff win deep in the New York zone.
Panarin set up the go-ahead goal 6:56 into the second period with a nifty pass across the crease to Copp, who fired a shot over Forsberg’s glove.
Kreider capped an end-to-end rush 2:09 later when his shot from the left faceoff circle sailed into the upper right corner of the net.
Panarin added another impressive assist to cap another end-to-end rush with 2:33 remaining in the second. He skated through the neutral zone, dashed by two Senators and cruised to the goal line before passing backwards to Strome, who scored from point-blank range.
“The last few years haven’t been as much fun,” Strome said. “It’s just a good feeling. We’ve come a long way as a group.”
Kreider capped the scoring with 2:29 left in the third period. It was a beautiful shot off a feed from Frank Vatrano that put a cherry on top of a great night.
“Excellent from start to finish,” Gerard Gallant said on MSG.”Kreids got a couple of beautiful goals, Shesterkin looked really sharp. We came ready to play.”
- Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 of 22 shots
- Artemi Panarin registered his 26th multipoint game on the year (1G -2A)
- Chris Kreider scored twice and now has 49 goals on the season (T-4TH Mike Gartner)
- Andrew Copp now has points in 10 of 11 with Rangers (4G – 10A)
- Ryan Strome picked up career point 350
NHL looking at late start for next season
The NHL is looking to start next season roughly around the same time in mid-October as they did this season. According to Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading, not only are the owners keen on the idea, but so is major broadcast partner ESPN. Read More.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article.