New York Rangers clinch playoff spot; hit 100 points with dominant win over Senators

new york rangers
Apr 9, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) hugs center Mika Zibanejad (93) after a game against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

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

new york rangers clinch playoff spot
Apr 9, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates with New York Rangers center Kevin Rooney (17) after scoring a goal against Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

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.”

Notable Rangers

  • 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

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article.