Rangers clinch playoff berth with Devils' 1-0 loss

Rangers' Brad Richards celebrates his shootout goal past

Rangers' Brad Richards celebrates his shootout goal past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with teammates Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider in Pittsburgh, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (Credit: AP / Gene J. Puskar)

Perhaps it wasn’t the way they had planned, but in the first year under head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff, the Rangers have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

The Blueshirts, with 91 points, were idle Monday night but secured a postseason berth when the Devils lost to Calgary 1-0 in Newark. It is the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Rangers have made the cut in the Eastern Conference. They were 7-2-1 in the last 10 to get within striking distance, and 10-5-1 in last 16.

Seeding has yet to be determined. In the new format, the second and third-place finishers in the Metropolitan Division face each other in the first round.

The second-place Rangers (43-31-5) have three games to play, starting Tuesday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flyers, in third with 89 points, have four games remaining. The Blue Jackets have 87 points with four games left.

The Rangers have home games against Carolina and Buffalo, and end the regular season in Montreal on Saturday. Philly plays the Panthers, Lightning and Penguins on the road and clsoes out with Carolina at home on Sunday. Columbus plays four games in five days: Phoenix at home and then the Stars, Lightning and Panthers on the road.

Should the Rangers hang on to second place, they could not stage Game 1 at home on Wednesday the 16th. The Knicks have their season final scheduled.

 

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