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Rangers strike early and often, earn 4-1 victory that eliminates Devils from East playoff race

  • f7a75c016a54b50d2f0f6a70670012d3.jpg

    New York Rangers' Ryan Callahan, right, shoots past New Jersey Devils' Anton Volchenkov during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

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    New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, right, looks on as the New York Rangers celebrate a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

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    New York Rangers' Derek Stepan, right, celebrates his goal with Ryane Clowe during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Sunday, April 21, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

  • 07d360026a2eb40d2f0f6a706700cb32.jpg

    New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, right, blocks a shot while New Jersey Devils' Dainius Zubrus, left, and Rangers' Anton Stralman jockey for position during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, April 21, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

Ryan Callahan scored a goal in the opening minute and another in the third period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves as the New York Rangers eliminated the New Jersey Devils from the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 4-1 victory on Sunday.

Callahan provided the lead 34 seconds in, Derek Stepan added a goal in the first period, and Taylor Pyatt snapped a long drought in the second for the eight-place Rangers, who are inching closer to a playoff berth.

Lundqvist was solid in his 12th straight start, allowing only Andrei Loktionov's goal with 6:30 remaining.

The Devils' longshot playoff hopes were dashed, meaning last season's conference champions won't get a chance to defend their title. New Jersey had won two straight following a 10-game skid (0-6-4).