One more point is all the New York Rangers need to clinch their seventh consecutive playoff berth.
They, however, would probably like to earn two, as they continue to seek momentum headed into the postseason, as they take on another team in the thick of the Pacific Division title chase, the San Jose Sharks, in a game that will conclude a tour of California (10:30, MSG).
The Rangers (46-26-4) missed a chance to clinch their spot on Sunday night, falling to the Anaheim Ducks 6-3. The Rangers actually had two first period leads, as Rick Nash and Derek Stepan each scored goals on 2-on-1 breakouts. Brady Skjei added a second period goal, but the Rangers couldn’t handle Anaheim’s rushes, allowing the Ducks to move into sole possession of first place in the Pacific. The game saw the return of Henrik Lundqvist, who returned from a hip injury sustained on March 7.
San Jose (42-26-7) has gotten into a funk at the absolute worst time, losing the division with six consecutive losses. Those struggles continued on Saturday night in a 7-2 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun each had second period goals, but were unable to stop the hot Predators, who are locked in a playoff positioning battle of their own in the Central division.
This will be the Rangers’ final regular season game against Western Conference competition this season, and they took the first matchup at Madison Square Garden all the way back in October in a 7-4 final. Seven different Rangers scored the goals, while Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello each had a pair of assists. Joe Pavelski contributed on all the San Jose goals, earning a goal and three assists.