Rangers Secure NHL Playoff Spot With 4-3 OT Win Over Hurricanes

Ryan Callahan scored less than three minutes into overtime and the New York Rangers secured a National Hockey League playoff berth for the third straight season with a 4-3 win at the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers (25-18-4) are tied with the New York Islanders (24-17-6) and the Ottawa Senators (24-16-6) with 54 points in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers, who can end the season anywhere from sixth to eighth place, play their final regular-season game tomorrow as host to the New Jersey Devils.

“Excitement, joy, relief and proud, too,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said about his feelings after Callahan’s goal. “We should be proud about how we came together in the last three or four weeks.”

The Senators also clinched a playoff berth with their 2-1 overtime victory against the third-seeded Washington Capitals (26-18-3, 55 points) and the Islanders lost 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers last night.

The lockout-shortened season ends April 28 with the Boston Bruins hosting the Senators. The playoffs begin two days later.

The Rangers blew a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard as the Hurricanes took command with two goals by Jiri Tlusty and one by Tuomo Ruutu at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Tying Goal

With 2:57 left in the third period, Brad Richards fired a shot from the blue line that hit the end boards and bounced off goalie Dan Ellis’s right skate and into the net to tie the game 3-3 on a power-play goal.

Callahan scored on a wrist shot at 2:55 of overtime.

“It was definitely a game of a lot of highs, especially at the end, and a couple of lows,” New York’s Ryan McDonagh told reporters. “The way this team battles, all the way to the end, that’s the definition of our style.”

Jared Staal, 22, debuted with his brothers Eric and Jordan for the Hurricanes. The trio skated together for 21 seconds.

The previous time three brothers played in the same game was 1985 when Marian, Peter and Anton Stastny played for the Quebec Nordiques.

Marc Staal, the fourth brother, hasn’t played for the Rangers since he sustained an eye injury March 5.

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