Rangers revive playoff hopes

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers were 3:59 away from their sixth straight year without a postseason appearance when Alex Kovalev scored to forge a 2-2 tie Tuesday night with the rival Islanders.

A win by the Islanders would have secured their second straight playoff berth after a seven-year absence, and knocked the Rangers out. Instead each team earned a point, leaving the Rangers three behind the Islanders.

The Rangers have two games remaining, while the Islanders will play three. Any combination of two points earned by the Islanders or not gained by the Rangers will eliminate the Rangers.

Arron Asham and Alexei Yashin staked the Islanders to a 2-0 lead, but the Rangers rallied on third-period goals by Brian Leetch and Kovalev.

Capitals 3, Panthers 0

WASHINGTON -- Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves as Washington moved within a point of idle Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division lead.

It was the fourth shutout this season for Kolzig, and the fifth of his career against Florida. Sergei Gonchar, Michael Nylander and Robert Lang scored the goals.

The Capitals started slowly, giving up seven straight shots to Florida. Then Steve Konowalchuk fired a diagonal pass to a cutting Gonchar, who deflected it in for his 18th goal at 11:45 of the first period.

Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 0

PHILADELPHIA -- Kim Johnsson had a goal and Keith Primeau added two assists as Philadelphia overpowered Columbus to extend it unbeaten streak to six games.

Roman Cechmanek stopped just 10 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and 20th overall for the Flyers (4-0-2). It was a franchise-low shots for Columbus.

Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi and Radovan Somik also scored for the Flyers, who already have clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Senators 3, Bruins 2

OTTAWA -- Marian Hossa scored twice to set an Ottawa record with 45 goals and Martin Havlat had a goal and an assist for the league-leading Senators.

Radek Bonk assisted on all three goals for Ottawa, which ended its home schedule by tying a team record with its 109th point. The Senators, who lead Dallas by two points for first overall, can clinch their first Presidents' Trophy -- and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs -- with wins in their final two games.

Glen Murray scored his team-leading 42nd goal for Boston, and Martin Lapointe got his eighth.

Maple Leafs 3, Devils 2, OT

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ed Belfour became the seventh NHL goaltender to win 400 regular-season games as Tomas Kaberle won it in overtime.

Belfour made 38 saves, including a great chance in close by Scott Gomez in the overtime, in winning for the 36th time this season and pushing his career mark to 400-262-105 in 15 seasons.

Kaberle also set up goals by Wade Belak and Mats Sundin as the Maple Leafs won their third straight and ended the Devils' seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2).

Jamie Langenbrunner and Jeff Friesen scored for New Jersey, which rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to force the overtime.

Mighty Ducks 2, Predators 1, OT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve Thomas scored his second goal with 52.6 seconds left in overtime, and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks extended the Nashville Predators' franchise-worst winless streak to 13 games.

Thomas broke the tie with Anaheim's only shot in overtime, taking a pass from Rob Niedermayer in front of the goal and beating Tomas Vokoun.

He now has 13 regular-season overtime goals, the most in the history of the NHL.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on a penalty shot by Thomas in the second period.

Jason York tripped Thomas on a breakaway and Thomas had no trouble beating Vokoun to the goalie's left.

Nashville is 0-8-3-2 since its last victory on March 7 at Dallas and 0-4-3 in its last seven homes games.



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