Reuters - Sat, 10 Apr 06:25:00 2010
The New York Rangers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers that set up a Sunday showdown for the Eastern Conference's final postseason berth.
New York's win on Marian Gaborik's tie-breaking goal pulled the Rangers even with the Flyers at 86 points in the race for the eighth and final Eastern spot.
"This was a playoff game, plain and simple," the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky, who scored a goal in the second period, told reporters.
"In essence it's a Game Seven, definitely a playoff atmosphere, and we expect no different for Sunday."
The Flyers will win the berth with a regulation win over the Rangers in Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Rangers can advance with an overtime or shootout loss to Philadelphia coupled with two regulation losses by the Boston Bruins, who are currently in sixth place in the East with 87 points, the NHL's website (www.nhl.com) said.
Gaborik delivered New York's winner with 3:06 left in the second period when his shot deflected off defenseman Matt Carle's stick.
"Yeah, I think it was a big goal for us," said Gaborik, who matched his career high with his 42nd goal of the season.
"I think every shift we came out with the thought that we were going to win this game, even though they tied the game," he added.
Chris Drury, Jody Shelley and Dubinsky also scored for the Rangers, who led 3-1 before Philadelphia struck twice in the second.
Shelley's was his first goal of the season.
"To get a goal from Jody like that, a guy who usually doesn't score, it's a huge lift," said the Rangers' Erik Christensen, who had two assists.
"Plus it was bang-bang after the first goal and put us up 2-1. It was huge."
New York's Henrik Lundqvist made a series of key saves in the third period, stopping all 10 shots he faced in the period to end up with 24 saves for the game.
Mike Richards scored twice for Philadelphia, his second goal tying the contest at 3-3.
Danny Briere also scored for the Flyers, who got 21 saves from Brian Boucher.
"We have to be ready right in the first period," Briere said of Sunday's game.
"We can't wait and let them dictate like they did tonight."