Ryan Callahan scored twice and Brad Richards posted two assists, as the New York Rangers eliminated their rivals from playoff contention with a 4-1 decision over the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.
Taylor Pyatt and Derek Stepan also tallied for the Rangers, who have won three in a row and five of six overall to pull even with idle Ottawa for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 52 points.
"They're (Devils) out now, but that's not why we were playing. We were playing because we need to stay alive. Now we're down to nine teams, so the odds are better," Richards said.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for New York, which is seeking its seventh playoff berth in the last eight years.
Andrei Loktionov recorded the lone score and Martin Brodeur stopped 18 shots for New Jersey, which will miss out on postseason hockey for the second time in the last three seasons.
"You don't want to think about it until it's actually a reality. No other word but disappointment," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said of the postseason.
New York needed only one shift to take the lead, as Callahan picked up the puck behind the New Jersey net and banked it off Brodeur's skate and in at the 34-second mark.
A Stepan deflection of a Ryan McDonagh floater from the left point with eight minutes left in the first made it 2-0 for the hosts.
Pyatt's marker, a top-shelf wrister over Brodeur's glove with 8:04 left in the second, pushed the Blueshirts' lead to three.
Callahan then chipped a shot over a prone Brodeur from the top of the left circle for a power-play goal at 5:13 of the third for a 4-0 score.
Loktionov spoiled the shutout bid for Lundqvist by beating him to the far post from the left circle with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
The Devils went with an extra attacker for the final 2 1/2 minutes of the contest to no avail, and the Rangers paid back their Hudson River rivals for last season's Eastern Conference Finals defeat.
Callahan notched his second two-goal effort of the season, following a similar performance in a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on March 5 ... The Rangers have won two of three in the season series, with one more meeting to take place Saturday at Madison Square Garden ... Devils head coach Peter DeBoer was given a game misconduct with 35 seconds remaining after engaging in heated remarks towards the officials.