Sens try to keep playoff hopes afloat in NYC

( - The New York Rangers will finish out the regular season knowing they will have home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Ottawa Senators have two games left to try and join the Rangers in the postseason.

The Sens aim to secure a critical road victory on Thursday night against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers.

Ottawa is 4-0-1 over its past five games, following up a shootout loss to Toronto on Sunday with Tuesday's huge 4-3 rally to top the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Sens trailed 3-0 after the first period, but Mark Stone's second goal of the game 2:43 into the extra frame secured the win.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the rally started with a short-handed goal that hit off a Penguins defenseman and Stone's first goal of the game came 34 seconds into the third period. Fellow rookie Mike Hoffman then scored with 1:48 left in the third period and Stone put home the winner off a feed from defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Andrew Hammond made 25 saves for the Senators, who played beyond regulation for the fifth straight game and tied Boston with 95 points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Just play our hearts out for the remainder of the games and see where we end up," Karlsson said.

The Sens remained even with the Bruins in the standings after Boston was shut out by the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Both teams have two games left to play, though the Bruins hold the current tiebreaker with two more non- shootout wins and visit the Florida Panthers tonight.

Ottawa ends its regular season on Saturday at the Philadelphia Flyers and also is a point back of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild card spot and two behind the Detroit Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Hoffman, Stone and Hammond have all been key to the Senators' playoff push. Hoffman leads all NHL rookies with 27 goals and Stone is tied for second among first-year players with 61 points.

Hammond, meanwhile, has gone 18-1-2 as a starter in his NHL career, though that lone regulation loss came to the Rangers on March 26. The 27-year-old was lifted after 37 minutes for allowing five goals on 22 shots faced.

The Rangers are looking to sweep their three-game season series with the Senators and have taken four of the past five encounters overall. However, they snapped a seven-game series home losing streak with an overtime victory on Jan. 20.

New York wrapped up its first Presidents' Trophy since its 1993-94 Stanley Cup-winning season with a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Kevin Hayes had a goal and two assists, while Carl Hagelin added a goal and a helper to the Blueshirts' fifth straight win.

The victory was also the 52nd of the season for New York, matching a franchise single-season record.

"It's a great accomplishment," said Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, who scored a goal. "Like any team, we had to handle adversity, injuries and ups and downs. To say we won the regular season is a huge confidence boost and a huge reassurance what this team is capable of doing."

Cam Talbot, who helped keep New York in the playoff mix when Henrik Lundqvist missed nearly two months with a neck injury, finished with 19 saves. Lundqvist is expected to start New York's final two games, including Saturday's regular- season finale in Washington.

Lundqvist is 13-15-3 versus the Senators with a 2.16 goals against average and .929 save percentage.

New York forward Mats Zuccarello sat out Tuesday's contest due to general soreness.