New York Rangers look to close out regular-season on high note vs Leafs
The New York Rangers and visiting Toronto Maple Leafs have little at stake on Thursday when they meet in their respective regular-season finales at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers (107 points), after all, are locked into the third seed in the Metropolitan Division. They will face the division’s second-place team — either the Hudson River rival New Jersey Devils or Carolina Hurricanes — in the first round of the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs (109 points), in turn, secured the second seed in the Atlantic Division and will tangle with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (47-21-13) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (49-21-11)
Date/Time: April 13, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
How to Watch the New York Rangers in 2023
New York Rangers regular-season finale
New York extended its point streak to six games (3-0-3) with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.
Artemi Panarin scored twice in the second period to boost his team-leading point total to 91. He has found the scoresheet in 15 of his last 22 games, totaling 26 points in that span (10 goals, 16 assists).
Panarin’s first goal on Monday was set up by Mika Zibanejad, giving both players 90 points on the season. Zibanejad, in fact, joined Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier as the lone Rangers centers since 1982-83 to record at least 90 points in a season.
“I think it’s awesome,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said about the milestones. “Both of them had a real good year for us, obviously, and they get 90 points — it’s great. … Any time you got guys going like that and getting those amount of points, it’s great for our team.”
Zibanejad is riding a five-game point streak (one goal, seven assists).
Both Panarin and Zibanejad, however, have been held off the scoresheet in both encounters with the Maple Leafs this season.
The teams split the previous two meetings this season, with each club winning on home ice. The Rangers skated to a 3-1 victory on Dec. 15, while the Maple Leafs answered with a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 25.
Toronto sent a message of sorts to Tampa Bay after its 4-3 victory extended the club’s winning streak to three games. Tuesday’s outcome was achieved despite the Maple Leafs scratching star forwards Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner as well as defenseman Mark Giordano and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
“Obviously we’ve got to win, but the playoffs (are) going to be a little different,” William Nylander said after collecting a goal and two assists. “It was nice to get a win today, but we’ve got to be ready for when the first game (of the series) starts.”
Joseph Woll made 45 saves on Tuesday after being recalled on an emergency basis from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. Woll likely will get the nod again on Thursday as Samsonov deals with an undisclosed injury.
“I’m not (going) to get into the specifics of it (other) than it’s something he has dealt with, he will deal with it,” Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said of Samsonov.
–Field Level Media