What it means: The Rangers failed to clinch an Eastern Conference title as the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins denied New York of a series sweep with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins notched a pair of goals in the second period to top the Rangers in the fourth and final meeting of the two teams this season and secure the Northeast Division title, while giving fans on Broadway a preview of what could be an enticing Eastern Conference finals match-up down the road.
Gaborik hits 40: Beating Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas early in the first, Marian Gaborik tallied his 40th goal of the season to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:33. Jordan Caron incidentally blocked teammate Zdeno Chara’s thundering slapshot, and the puck squirted out to Gaborik for the breakaway. The 30-year-old sniper reached the 40-goal plateau for the second time with the Rangers, third time of his career. He is two goals shy of his career-high 42 goals, achieved twice -- in 2009-10 with New York and two seasons prior with the Minnesota Wild.
All tied up: Chara had a hand in the Bruins’ first goal as well, setting up fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg with a slapshot from the blue-line to tie the game four minutes into the second period.
Oops: A rare Dan Girardi turnover allowed the Bruins to take a 2-1 lead in the second period, as Seguin pounced on the giveaway and found Patrice Bergeron to tuck it away for a power-play goal at 11:52 of the second.
Setting the stage: The Rangers scoff at any mention of the standings and claim to be oblivious to any game but their own, but there was a Sunday matinee that may have garnered some interest. The Pittsburgh Penguins fell 6-4 to the Philadelphia Flyers in a nasty divisional game that whittled the Rangers’ magic number to one. With the two point sacrificed by the Pens, New York entered Sunday’s match needing only one point to clinch the Eastern Conference title. The game was a good preview of what will likely be the 4-5 match-up in the East; the game ended with a melee that extended to both team’s coaching staffs as well. Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette and Pittsburgh assistant Tony Granato were ejected from the game after screaming at each other from the bench.
Up Next: Rangers at Flyers, Tuesday at 7 p.m.