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

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."