Officially eliminated from playoff contention with the New Jersey Devils’ victory over the Carolina Hurricanes last night, the New York Rangers are still worth watching, if only for their recent youth movement.
It continues tonight on the road, as they complete a home-and-home series with the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena (8:00 PM, NBCSN).
While the first half of the pair didn’t go well, as the Rangers (33-35-8) fell 4-2 to the Capitals on Monday at Madison Square Garden, hope for the future was on full display in the form of Lias Andersson, who made his NHL debut, and Filip Chytil, playing his third game in Ranger blue. The Rangers fell behind 4-0 after the first period, but the team’s two first-round selections got on the scoresheet to pick up their first NHL points. Andersson scored the first goal for the Rangers, while Chytil earned the primary assist on Mats Zuccarello’s 16th goal of the year. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist each to lead the for Washington (45-24-7), who continues to lead the Metropolitan Division.
First NHL game, first NHL goal!
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) March 27, 2018
Officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Rangers will be play a game in which they enter eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since April 3, 2004, the 2003-04 season finale. In a game also against the Capitals, Bobby Holik had two power play goals, including one in overtime, to give the Rangers a 3-2 win.
This will also mark the first so-called meaningless game from Henrik Lundqvist, who will return to net for the first time since suffering an injury against the Columbus Blue Jackets next week. The Rangers have missed the playoffs no twice in the Lundqvist era, doing so for the first time since 2010. Lundqvist has yet to play a game where the Rangers entered mathematically eliminated.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490