Rangers' season ends with playoff whimper

NEW YORK (AP) - When the New York Rangers look back at this season, two key moments will surely stand out: one will make them smile; the other will cause them to cringe.

The happy memory will be of their regular-season-ending win over the New Jersey Devils that kept them alive in the playoff chase long enough for Tampa Bay to beat Carolina hours later and put them into the postseason as the No. 8 seed.

However, their stay in the playoffs, after a one-year absence, was painfully quick.

That didn't seem likely Wednesday night when the Rangers carried a 3-0 lead into the third period of Game 4 at raucous Madison Square Garden and seemed to be well on their way to tying the series with the top-seeded Washington Capitals.