Alain Vigneault’s Rangers have some work left to do to get in the playoffs.
The Rangers failed to clinch a playoff berth by losing in Carolina Thursday night, and the victorious Bruins and Red Wings refused to help the idle Blueshirts’ cause on Friday.
So Alain Vigneault’s club enters Saturday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Garden facing the same advantageous scenario they squandered in Raleigh: Win in regulation or overtime and clinch the franchise’s 58th playoff berth and 10th in 11 seasons – or for the 10th time in the 11 seasons Henrik Lundqvist has worn the red, white and mostly blue.
Detroit (89 points, four to play), which defeated the visiting Minnesota Wild, 3-2, Friday night, still could accelerate the Blueshirts’ clinching if the Wings lose points in Saturday night’s visit to Toronto. But the Rangers (43-25-9, 95 points, five to play) would prefer not to leave their fate up to their foes.
Boston (90 points) didn’t help the Rangers with a 6-5 win in St. Louis on Friday. The Blueshirts needed a Bruins regulation loss and a Red Wings defeat of any kind to clinch. They got neither.
“We’re still in a pretty good spot,” Lundqvist told reporters after Friday afternoon’s practice in Greenburgh. “Sometimes you could put high expectations on this group, but I think there are a lot of teams in this league that have the same expectations and they’re not in our spot. So it’s important to feel good about where we are and what we can do. We just have to get together here and push ourselves.”
THAT’S A RAP
The Rangers agreed to terms Friday with UMass-Lowell free agent forward Adam Chapie, who “enjoys writing music and rapping during his free time,” according to his River Hawks bio. Aside from rhythm, the 6-1, 185-pound, right-handed Chapie, 24, boasted 16 goals and 35 points this past season.
He joins the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack immediately along with two recently-signed former Ranger draft picks: Notre Dame forward Steven Fogarty, 22, a 2011 third-rounder, and Michigan forward Cristoval Nieves, 22, a 2012 second-rounder.