Metro Division Champs
NEW YORK RANGERS: Derek Stepan Puts An End To Columbus Blue Jackets' 9 Game Win Streak, And Moves Blueshirts Closer To Clinching The President's Trophy.
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered Monday's game winners of 9 in a row, and 12 of their last 13 games. Even then, they still trailed the Detroit Red Wings for 8th in the Eastern Conference by 12 points. Their season was already effectively over - except for former Rangers Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, whom almost crashed the party-like atmosphere at Madison Square Garden.
Martin St. Louis put the Rangers ahead in the 1st period, but Columbus came right back and tied the game. Dan Girardi then put the Rangers ahead again in the 2nd period, but Columbus again responded in kind.
Near the midway point of the 3rd period, the one time crowd favorite Brandon Dubinsky gave Dan Girardi the slip, and put the Blue Jackets ahead for the first time in the game by a 3-2 margin.
Artem Anisimov failed to convert a golden scoring opportunity with Lundqvist badly out position, but lifted the puck out of play instead. Outside of some other rather miraculous saves by Lundqvist, Anisimov's whiff was an omen of things to come.
Late in the 3rd period with Henrik Lundqvist pulled from net, Derek Stepan scored at the 19:32 mark on an assist from Chris Kreider to send the game into overtime. Then with the extra session winding down, Stepan scored the game winner at the 4:10 mark to give the Rangers their NHL leading 51st victory of the regular season. Stepan also registered an assist to give him 3-points on the night.
- Derek Stepan now has 3 goals and 5 points in his last 2 games.
- The Rangers are now 3-0 with Martin St. Louis back in the line-up. They posted a 4-4 record without him.
- After losing his return game against Boston, Henrik Lundqvist has now won 4 in a row.
The Rangers now have 109 points, which ties their 2nd best all-time franchise mark. The Rangers club record is 112 points set by the 1993-94 team.
The race for the President's Trophy is down to the Rangers and Anaheim Ducks. The Rangers have 3 games remaining, while the Ducks have 107 points, and only 2 games left to play. By securing one point against the Devils Tuesday evening, the Rangers would clinch the Eastern Conference title. With a 2-point victory, Tex's Rangers would clinch the President's Trophy.