[48-28-6]
2
4
[51-24-7]
03/19/2012
FINAL
1 2 3 T
New Jersey Devils NJD 0 2 0 2
22 SHOTS 27
23 FACEOFFS 34
23 HITS 41
33 PIM 23
0/3 PP 1/3
10 GIVEAWAYS 4
4 TAKEAWAYS 8
9 BLOCKED SHOTS 13
       

Rangers down Devils to clinch playoff berth at home

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 10:22 PM

2011-12 Game No. 72; Home Game No. 36 Rangers' Record: 45-20-7
VIDEO: HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
• Full Highlights | Tortorella Postgame • Bickel, Dubinsky, Zuccarello Postgame
GAME RECAP

Associated Press

Brandon Dubinsky scored shortly after a fight-filled opening faceoff, and the Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team to earn a playoff spot by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday night.

Three fights broke out at the outset and that seemed to jump-start the Rangers.

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored in the first minute of the second period, and Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan added goals for the Rangers, who lead the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points. The Blueshirts (45-20-7) have 10 games remaining. Pittsburgh has 11 to play, including one against the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 shots and got the Rangers back on track after home losses to Colorado and Pittsburgh. The Rangers, who have two games remaining on a seven-game homestand, went 3-2-1 against New Jersey in the season series.

The Rangers have often struggled until the final days to get into the playoffs, but now they have joined Western Conference-leading St. Louis as the only teams to qualify this season.

Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora had goals, and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for the Devils, who are sixth in the East.

Before the puck dropped for the opening faceoff, it was already clear that it wouldn't be a calm beginning as players jousted and jabbed with their counterparts next to them.

Gloves and sticks hit the ice about the same time as the puck, and six of the 10 skaters squared off to fight. On either side of the big faceoff circle in the middle, New Jersey's Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton fought New York's Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp. While inside the Devils' zone, Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel traded blows with Ryan Carter. Carter got in the better shots, but fell to the ice first and was already bleeding when he went down.
• COMMENT ON BLUESHIRTS UNITED | PHOTO GALLERY

PHOTO OF THE GAME

STAT OF THE GAME
The Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team, and second in the league overall, to clinch a 2012 playoff spot. This is the earliest the Blueshirts have clinched a playoff berth since the 1991-92 Presidents' Trophy-winning season, when the Blueshirts clinched on March 8 (through 68 games) following a Philadelphia loss to Vancouver. This is also the earliest that the Rangers have clinched a playoff spot since the league went to the current playoff format for the 1993-94 season.

THREE STARS
(selected by the local media)
1. Callahan 2. Dubinsky 3. Zuccarello


THE BIGGER PICTURE
In many ways, this was the perfect game for the Rangers to clinch a playoff spot, because it proved that they do have the tools to beat anyone once they get there -- no matter how deep the rivalry or how fired up that particular opponent might be.
RANGERS LEADERS
Icetime -- Girardi (23:02)
Shots -- Dubinsky (4)
Hits -- Boyle (6)
Blocks -- Callahan (3)
Takeaways -- Staal, Richards (2)
Faceoffs -- Boyle (18)

NEW YORK RANGERS LINEUP VS. NEW JERSEY
FORWARD LINES
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Carl Hagelin Brad Richards Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky Derek Stepan Ryan Callahan
Mats Zuccarello Brian Boyle John Mitchell
Ruslan Fedotenko Mike Rupp Brandon Prust
DEFENSE PAIRINGS
Left Defense Right Defense
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Michael Del Zotto
Tim Erixon Stu Bickel
Goaltenders: Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Biron
Starting Lineup: Lundqvist, Staal, Dubinsky, Rupp, Bickel, Prust.
POWER PLAY UNITS
FORWARD LINES
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Mats Zuccarello Ryan Callahan Marian Gaborik
Brian Boyle Derek Stepan Brandon Dubinsky
POINT MEN
Left Point Right Point
Michael Del Zotto Brad Richards
Marc Staal Dan Girardi
PENALTY KILLING UNITS
FORWARD UNITS
Forward Forward
Callahan/Prust Brian Boyle
Carl Hagelin Derek Stepan
Ruslan Fedotenko Brandon Dubinsky
DEFENSE PAIRINGS
Left Defense Right Defense
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Michael Del Zotto
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