National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 7th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (42-29-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (46-24-11), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams battling for playoff seeding meet tonight in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins welcome the New York Rangers to Mellon Arena in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Penguins are locked into a first-round playoff matchup with the Ottawa Senators, but it's still up in the air who will hold home-ice advantage in that series.

Pittsburgh comes into Saturday tied with the Senators for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with one game left for each team. The Penguins won in Ottawa on Thursday to keep their hopes of getting home-ice advantage in the first round alive. Ottawa can clinch the fourth seed with a victory tonight, and the Senators hold the luxury of having one more win than Pittsburgh so the Pens must finish ahead in points to improve their playoff seeding.

The Penguins earned a dramatic victory in Thursday's test at Scotiabank Place, as Maxime Talbot scored with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation to post a 3-2 triumph over the Senators.

Michel Ouellet and Gary Roberts also scored for the Penguins, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves in the win.

Meanwhile, the Rangers clinched a playoff spot with Thursday's win over the Montreal Canadiens, but are still in danger of dropping one spot to the seventh seed.

New York has 94 points and is just two ahead of Tampa Bay for the sixth slot. The Rangers need just a single point in tonight's test to keep its position, but if the Lightning beat Atlanta and New York loses in regulation tonight, then Tampa will clinch the sixth seed. If the Lightning finish sixth that would mean Atlanta and Tampa would meet in the first round of the playoffs and the Rangers would face the Devils in the opening round.

The Rangers posted a 3-1 home win over the Habs on Thursday as Jaromir Jagr had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves at Madison Square Garden.

Jagr became the second player in NHL history to score 30-plus goals in 15 consecutive seasons, joining Mike Gartner. The Czech superstar leads his team in goals (30) and assists (66) this season.

Petr Prucha and Marek Malik also scored for New York, which has won eight of 10 and secured its second straight postseason appearance after missing the playoffs in the previous seven seasons.

Sean Avery had an assist for the Rangers to give him 20 points (8 goals, 20 assists) in 28 games since coming over from Los Angeles in a trade on February 5.

The Penguins are holding a slim 4-3 edge in the series with the Rangers this year, but New York has taken three of the last five encounters. New York has also dropped four of its last six tests at the Igloo.

The Rangers are 21-14-5 overall as the visiting team this year, while Pittsburgh is 25-10-5 in the Steel City.

04/07 11:06:54 ET

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