Rangers slide back into final playoff spot with win

Ryan Callahan celebrates one of his two goals on the night for the Rangers. Credit: Getty Images
Ryan Callahan celebrates the game-tying goal that sparked the Rangers in their win.
Credit: Getty Images

Thirty-five games spanning two-and-a-half months have shown that the 2013 New York Rangers are flawed.

But flawed teams can qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“We’ve underachieved so far this year,” Ryan Callahan said after the Rangers’ 4-2 win over the Jets Monday night at the Garden. The win guarantees that the Rangers will wake up today as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, despite the Islanders’ 3-1 win over the Devils at the Prudential Center.

The Rangers and Islanders each have 37 points. Both trail the seventh-seeded Devils by two points. The Rangers have one fewer regulation loss than the Islanders.

The Rangers have a game in hand on both the Islanders and Devils. The Islanders and Devils have 12 games remaining this season. The Rangers have 13 left.

“We just have to make it and that’s the attitude we have right now,” Callahan said. “We got to get into the playoffs and it’s a new season. You saw it last year.”

In what was the most important game of the season up to this point, the Rangers ended a two-game losing streak in which they were unable to register a single goal.

Prior to the game, head coach John Tortorella reshuffled the forward lines and defensive pairs. It paid off, as the top line of Callahan, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash combined for eight points.

Callahan finished with four points (a goal and three assists). Rick Nash scored a goal and added an assist. Derek Stepan, who has been the Rangers’ best player this season, scored two goals.

“Cally had a heck of a game. That makes the chemistry certainly work itself out and Rick has been a special player since he’s been here,” Stepan said.

Stepan opened the scoring 19 seconds into the game with his 11th goal of the season, and his second goal of the game was the game-winner.

Stepan’s first, a snapshot that beat Ondrej Pavelec (31 saves) five-hole, ended the Rangers’ shutout streak at 128:06.

“Getting that goal right away, Step’s goal, [was] a pretty good confidence booster,” Dan Girardi said. “We finally get a goal. We know we can put it in the net.”

But for all of the positive feelings Stepan’s goal created, the Rangers trailed 2-1 early in the second and were down two men after Mats Zuccarello (high-sticking) and Girardi (tripping) took two-minute minors 1:21 apart.

But as his penalty expired, Zuccarello came out of the box and made a backhand touch pass to an oncoming Callahan. The two forwards came in on a two-on-one against Tobias Enstrom. The Winnipeg defenseman sprawled to the ice to take away the pass, but Callahan held onto the puck and cut toward the middle of the ice before tucking the puck past Pavelec.

“We get some fortunate bounces,” Tortorella said. “It certainly sparked us. As far as Ryan Callahan, it’s a huge play in the game. Not only killing the penalties but [the] wherewithal to kill and keep the puck and score a big goal like that. I thought we took off from there. I thought we took over the game from there.”

And, he hopes, maybe found some of the qualities that marked the 2011-12 team.

“I think they have confidence,” Tortorella said. “It’s just when something doesn’t go right for them in the game, we lost a little bit of that quick resiliency. Maybe tonight we find a way to come back; maybe this was a good lesson for us. They have to grab something to keep themselves aware that we’re not dead yet here because [an opponent] scored.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.