The Rangers' Erik Gustafsson and the Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner fall to the...

The Rangers' Erik Gustafsson and the Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner fall to the ice during the second period of an NHL game in Toronto on Saturday. Credit: AP/Frank Gunn

TORONTO — The Rangers are at the point that the games seem to be less about collecting points and more about getting them prepped for the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, winners of eight of their previous nine games coming in, represented one of those fascinating pre-playoff tests for the Rangers on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.

After a taut, back-and-forth game, the Rangers rallied from a third-period deficit to tie the score with 1:07 remaining on Vincent Trocheck’s second goal. After Max Domi’s goal put Toronto ahead in the fourth round of the shootout, Trocheck hit the post, and the Rangers lost, 4-3.

“I thought it was good,’’ said Trocheck, whose two goals got him to 500 career points. “I mean, overtime was exciting and both teams had a couple chances to end it. I thought we played well defensively.

“Anything can happen going into a shootout, with all the talent that’s going in these shootouts. You never know what’s gonna happen. It’s good to get a point.’’

Of course, there are no shootouts in the playoffs, so how much this proves is up for debate. But it was a good game between two good teams, and there were plenty of positives for both teams, including the Rangers fighting back from a 3-2 deficit and tying the score after pulling the goalie for an extra skater.

“You focus more on that 60 minutes than necessarily the overtime or shootout,’’ defenseman Adam Fox said. “I thought we played well in the 60.

“[The Maple Leafs] have a lot of skill. They’re going to get chances and I thought we were matched up pretty well, had chances of our own. Their goalie made some nice saves there, [but] I thought it was for that 60 minutes we battled hard.

“Getting that six-on-five goal is obviously a bit of confidence there,’’ he added. “I think it’s something that at some point you might need. So to get that was obviously huge for us, too.’’

The Rangers led twice, 1-0 and 2-1, but it was tied 2-2 at the start of the third period. John Tavares’ deflection of a shot by Calle Jarnkrok at 7:17 of the third put the Leafs ahead 3-2.

Mitch Marner’s try for an empty-net goal that would have sealed the decision hit the post and ended up as an icing call.

On the ensuing faceoff, Trocheck scored to tie it at 3-3.

The Rangers took the lead on a goal by Alexis Lafreniere at 11:33 of the first period. At first, it wasn’t clear that Lafreniere’s shot had gone in, because it bounced back out of the goal so quickly, but the referees went to video replay and confirmed that the puck indeed had gone in. The goal was Lafreniere’s 18th of the season, one shy of his career high set in his second season of 2021-22.

For a split-second, it appeared the Rangers had taken a 2-0 lead on a shot by Trocheck inside the final minute that similarly came back out quickly. But replays showed that puck hit the post.

Marner tied it at 1-1 at 3:54 of the second period with his 24th goal of the season, but Trocheck’s first goal, a pretty finish off a tic-tac-toe passing play that went from Artemi Panarin to Lafreniere to Trocheck put the Rangers ahead 2-1 at 5:03.

But Nylander tied it again at 8:54 after the Rangers got trapped inside their own zone and couldn’t get the puck out. Nylander flung a shot through traffic that appeared to tick off the stick of defenseman Erik Gustafsson on its way past Igor Shesterkin (31 saves). The goal was Nylander’s 33rd of the season.

The Rangers held Auston Matthews, the league’s leading goal-scorer with 53, to one assist and four shots on goal. Matthews had totaled four goals in two previous games against the Rangers this season.

“Yeah, he’s a guy that just finds ways to score goals,’’ coach Peter Laviolette said before the game. “I mean, he scores them from everywhere. [But it’s] not just about him. It’s about their team. They’ve got other good players, too. They’re high-octane.’’

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