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Old 03-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #1
devo22
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Icon36 Rangers clinch a playoff berth



The New York Rangers did not take the ice on Thursday, but it still proved to be an important day for the Blueshirts as a loss of the Montreal Canadiens meant that the Rangers were able to lock up a playoff birth for the second year in a row.

After a series of offseason moves, the Rangers experienced a relatively quiet season. A handful of trades apart, GM devo22 decided to trust this group and the players certainly did not disappoint. Backed by strong goaltending, the Rangers were able to stay in contention for a playoff spot all season and finally saw the coveted "X" added to their name with one regular season game to go.

Having taken over the Rangers when they were bottom dwellers two years ago, GM devo22 does not seem content with only earning back-to-back trips to the playoffs though. Last year, the Rangers almost pulled off an upset in round 1, taking a 3-1 series lead over the Washington Capitals, only to see their season end in heartbreaking fashion during an overtime loss in game 7. "We haven't forgotten", devo22 said. "We want to do better this time."

The Rangers (42-31-8) will finish their 2019-20 campaign a shade under their 2018-19 totals (44-31-7), but will have a chance to lock up the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference for a second time in a row with a win over the Florida Panthers in their regular season finale. The winner of the game will lock horns with the second-seeded New Jersey Devils in the first round, while the loser will have to face the Presidents Trophy winners, Philadelphia Flyers.

Despite another solid season, their general manager has already hinted at a busier offseason. "We didn't do a whole lot during the year", he said. "I wouldn't necessarily expect that to continue. We'll be busy this offseason." The Rangers' roster features five upcoming unrestricted free agents and a number of restricted free agents. The team made their first move towards 2020-21 just before the trade deadline, releasing forward Bobby Ryan and freeing up $4.5m in cap space for next season. Ryan had 4 goals and 9 assists in 80 games this season and was the last player who was already with the team when the Rangers hired devo22 in April 2018.

Due to the importance of the regular season finale, not a lot of changes in the lineup are expected. Apart from starting goaltender Jake Allen probably gettng a rest, practice lines from Thursday indicated "business as usual".

Practice lines:

Dzingel - Stepan - Smith
Filppula - Henrique - Coleman
Connolly - Gourde - Brown
Eriksson - Girgensons - Granlund/Zykov

Lindell - Pesce
Goligoski - De Haan
Stecher - Irwin/Soucy

Reimer (Allen)
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