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Rangers’ Antti Raanta finishes regular season on a high note

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider and

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Alexei Marchenko battle for the puck in front of Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard during the first period of the game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, April 9, 2016 Photo Credit: New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Alexei Marchenko battle for the puck in front of Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard during the first period of the game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, April 9, 2016

Backup goaltender Antti Raanta ended his first regular season with the Rangers on a high note. The Finnish netminder, acquired in a draft day trade with the Blackhawks, won seven of his last eight starts, including a 31-save performance in a 3-2 win over the Red Wings on Saturday.

“You know that the other team is playing for their life,” he said. “It was a little bit harder to prepare yourself, but I just wanted to go one situation at a time, one shot at a time.”

It was his 11th win of the season, and in his last eight starts he had a 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage.

“I’m feeling really good,” said Raanta, 26, who had a stretch that severely tested his self-confidence when he lost five straight starts from the end of November to mid-January. “After those tough moments in the past, I think I grew up a lot mentally. I think I’m much stronger than I was even when the season was starting. The defensemen have been helping me a lot and guys have been blocking shots, so it’s been a good run. For me, it was a big win.”

Yandle, Miller play all 82

Only two Rangers played in all 82 games this season. Defenseman Keith Yandle, who extended his consecutive games-played streak to 551, dating to March 26, 2009 with Phoenix, was one. J.T. Miller, who played 82 for the first time, was the only forward to reach the mark. Eric Staal played in 83 games, having come from Carolina in the trade deadline deal.

Blue notes

Oscar Lindberg scored into an empty net and also had an assist. for his first multi-point game since Nov. 3. He had been a healthy scratch for 11 of the 12 previous games . . . Dan Boyle, 39, a free agent in June, scored his 10th goal in what will most likely be his last regular-season game as a Ranger. The 10 goals are the most of any blueliner on the team . . . Emergency callup Marek Hrivik, who played 18:18 with two shots, four hits and won two of three faceoffs, was re-assigned to Hartford . . . Rookie Dylan McIlrath who played a career-high 22: 57 and posted his 2nd NHL assist, had a game-high seven hits . . . The Rangers finished 27-10-4 at home and 19-17-5 on the road . . . Kevin Kevin tied his career high in assists (17) and points (26) . . . Tanner Glass played in his 500th NHL game.

New York Sports