(Corrects team in third paragraph.)
The Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in a shootout to tie the Ottawa Senators and the Islanders for the final three playoff places in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference ahead of an April 13 matchup between the New York rivals.
The Rangers, Islanders and Senators each have 44 points. The Senators are sixth because they’ve played one fewer game than the New York teams, while the Islanders are seventh because they have one more non-shootout win than the Rangers.
The Winnipeg Jets are two points further back in ninth place, with the New Jersey Devils next with 40 points. Eight teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. Toronto, which hasn’t made the playoffs for a franchise-record seven seasons, is fifth with 49 points.
The Rangers and Islanders each have eight regular-season games remaining. Tonight, the Senators face the Philadelphia Flyers on the road and the Islanders are at the Boston Bruins.
Phil Kessell gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the second period last night at Madison Square Garden in New York. Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh scored to give New York a 2-1 lead in the second period and Kessell tied the score midway through the third before Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winning goal.
“We played much better defensively and I know they concentrated on it,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “It’s a hard game, I don’t want to make any excuse for them, but it’s hard coming off that trip and the travel.”
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