The New York Rangers know that they will open the playoffs on the road. Just where is still to be decided.
The Rangers look to close out the regular season with their seventh victory in nine games on Saturday as they play host to the New Jersey Devils.
New York locked up its seventh trip to the playoffs in the past eight seasons with Thursday's 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Brad Richards had a power-play goal with 2:57 left in regulation to extend the game before captain Ryan Callahan scored with 2:05 left in overtime.
Callahan and Derek Stepan finished with a goal and an assist each, while Carl Hagelin and Michael Del Zotto both finished with two assists. Callahan has four goals and five assists during a six-game point streak. . "It's a great feeling," said Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who recorded 18 saves. "It's been a fun year. A little bumpy start, but after that we've been working really hard and even though it's been going up and down for us, especially the last three or four weeks we've stepped up as a group and as a team."
The Rangers and Ottawa Senators are tied for the final two playoff spots in the conference and the New York Islanders are one put ahead in sixth, setting up possible dates for each club with one of the three division winners. The Sens have the inside track on sixth place as they have two games left to play, while the Islanders concluded their regular season by gaining one point in Friday's shootout loss to Buffalo.
Ottawa is hosting the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and will travel to Boston tomorrow to make up a postponed game from the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.
The sixth seed will open the playoffs against the Southeast Division-champion Washington Capitals, while the eighth-place team will open versus the top- seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Either Boston or Montreal will play host to the seventh seed to open the playoffs.
New York forward Ryane Clowe left Thursday's win with an undisclosed injury and did not return.
The Rangers have won two of three versus the Devils this season, including a previous meeting in New York on April 21. Callahan scored twice in that 4-1 win, while Richards and Stepan both had two-point games.
New York has won three straight and six of its last eight at home versus New Jersey, which will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years and made the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
The Devils have won four of their past five and are coming off a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that meant nothing to the standings. Ilya Kovalchuk had the winner with 6:10 left in the game.
"I don't think they were that desperate tonight. They were trying, but they weren't on top of their game," Kovalchuk said. "Still, we worked hard, and it was a good game overall."
Travis Zajac and David Clarkson also scored for the Devils, who got 16 saves from Johan Hedberg as they battled back from a 2-0 hole.
Patrik Elias had two assists in New Jersey's final home game of the season. The 37-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent and has logged 375 goals and 555 assists in 1,089 career games, all with the Devils.