National Hockey League
- Madison Square Garden PUCK DROP -
Detroit Red Wings
ML: DET -134
NY Rangers Rangers
ML: NYR +121
Goalie Performance
Jimmy Howard
#35 G Jimmy Howard
Antti Raanta
#32 G Antti Raanta
0.895 SV% 17 SV
0.939 SV% 31 SV
Scoring Leaders
Justin Abdelkader
#8 LW Justin Abdelkader Goals Assists 1 0
Riley Sheahan
#15 C Riley Sheahan Goals Assists 1 0
Pavel Datsyuk
#13 C Pavel Datsyuk Goals Assists 0 1
Oscar Lindberg
#24 C Oscar Lindberg Goals Assists 1 1
Kevin Hayes
#13 RW Kevin Hayes Goals Assists 1 0
Dan Boyle
#22 D Dan Boyle Goals Assists 1 0

NEW YORK -- Center Henrik Zetterberg said it was the longest walk he has ever taken from the ice to the locker room after a game.

The Detroit Red Wings just lost 3-2 to the shorthanded New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon when a win in both teams' season finale would have clinched a 25th consecutive playoff spot. Now the team's fate was in the hands of the Ottawa Senators, who needed to do the Red Wings a favor by beating the Boston Bruins.

Little did Zetterberg and the Red Wings know, the Senators were pasting the Bruins in Boston. Ottawa won 6-1 in a game that concluded about 10 minutes after the one in New York, which allowed the Red Wings to feel better about a second consecutive loss.

"It feels good," Zetterberg said. "We had a chance by winning here to make the postseason but I thought we made a good effort. We had a lot of chances and couldn't find the back of the net. But I'm just going to send thanks to Ottawa. They showed up in Boston and played a good game."

The Red Wings had every opportunity to clinch a postseason berth themselves but Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta made 31 saves, including 15 of 16 during the second period. The Rangers were without several regulars -- some were resting, some were dealing with injuries -- and lost left winger Eric Staal to a head/neck injury during the second period.

The game appeared to be over when left winger Oscar Lindberg gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead by scoring into an empty net with 2:36 remaining.

"My first reaction was, I turned to (Luke Glendenning) and asked what was going on in the other game," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "He said it was 5-1 and I said, 'Yeah, right.'"

But left winger Justin Abdelkader pulled the Red Wings to within 3-2 with 1:34 left and set the stage for a finish that was dramatic and disappointing all at once.

The Red Wings had 19.9 seconds of 6-on-3 to finish the game, as Howard was on the bench for an extra skater and there were two Rangers in the penalty box. But the Red Wings cleared their own zone with an errant back pass and never got a shot on net.

"That team was fighting for their playoff lives and our group did a really good job of matching their jump and their start," Rangers center Derek Stepan said.

The Red Wings will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of their first-round series in 2015. The Rangers may not know their first-round opponent until Sunday as they will either take on the Pittsburgh Penguins or, if the New York Islanders earn three points over their final two games this weekend, battle the Florida Panthers.

"I mean, that's the hottest team since Christmas," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of the Penguins, who are 14-1 since March 11 entering Saturday. "So if it's them or Florida, and Florida finished first in their division, it's going to be tough. But that's playoff hockey."

Howard, who stopped 17 of 19 shots and was only beaten on a 2-on-1 chance by defenseman Dan Boyle and a third-period deflection by left winger Kevin Hayes, will be the starter this postseason. Last year, it was Petr Mrazek who took the reins in a seven-game loss to the Lightning but he has faltered over the final two months and opened the door for Howard to be the No. 1 goaltender again.

The Lightning won't have center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman for the series but that doesn't change how Howard views last season's Eastern Conference champions.

"They've still got a lot of weapons, a lot of great players on that team," Howard said. "We have to be ready to go."

The Rangers will sit back and see what their rivals in Brooklyn do starting Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

"We'll keep an eye on that and get prepared for whoever we're up against," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "We'll see how everything falls here in the next couple of days."

NOTES: Red Wings RW Tomas Jurco was scratched. He was replaced C Joakim Anderson. ... Rangers LW Justin Abdelkader, who left Detroit's game against the Bruins on Thursday with a lower-body injury, was in the lineup. ... The Rangers gave rest to two banged-up players, RW Mats Zuccarello and LW Viktor Stalberg. ... Rangers D Ryan McDonagh (hand) missed his third straight game and is questionable to be ready for the playoffs. ... Rangers D Dan Girardi (upper body) missed his second straight game.
Top Game Performances
Detroit   NY Rangers
Justin Abdelkader 1 Points Oscar Lindberg 2
Justin Abdelkader 1 Goals Oscar Lindberg 1
Pavel Datsyuk 1 Assists Oscar Lindberg 1
Riley Sheahan 1 Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Jimmy Howard .895 Save Percentage Antti Raanta .939
Jimmy Howard 17 Saves Antti Raanta 31
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Detroit 33 2 1-4 2-2 4 31
NY Rangers 20 3 0-2 3-4 8 30