NEW YORK, N.Y. – Rob Schremp and Andrew Ladd scored 15 seconds apart in the second period, Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves and the Atlanta Thrashers delivered a crushing blow to the New York Rangers’ playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory Thursday night.
Just three nights after the Rangers posted their most stirring win of the season with a late comeback against the Boston Bruins, New York looked flat from the start without second-leading scorer and leader Ryan Callahan. That proved costly against the also-ran Thrashers, who had lost four of six but played the spoiler role perfectly and beat New York for the third time in the four-game season series.
Now with only one game left in the regular season—a home matchup against division rival New Jersey on Saturday—the Rangers no longer hold their playoff fate in their hands. New York leads ninth-place Carolina by two points, but the Hurricanes have two games remaining and own the tiebreaker over the Rangers.
Eric Boulton added a goal for Atlanta in the third period.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Ottawa 3 Montreal 2 (OT); Vancouver 5, Minnesota 0; and Dallas 4 Colorado 2.
DALLAS (AP)—Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards each had a goal and an assist, and Dallas remained in the playoff race with a victory over Colorado in the Stars’ home finale.
Brenden Morrow and Tom Wandell added goals for the Stars, who’ve won three straight and improved to 93 points with road games left against Colorado on Friday night and Minnesota on Sunday.
The Stars drew even in points with Calgary for the No. 9 slot in the West, but Calgary has been eliminated with one game left because of tiebreakers. Dallas is two points behind Chicago and Anaheim for the final Western Conference playoff berth. Anaheim is No. 7, holding the tiebreaker over Chicago. The Ducks and Blackhawks also have two games remaining.
Brandon Yip and Mark Olver scored for Colorado.
VANCOUVER (AP)—Ryan Kesler scored three goals, Mason Raymond had two, Roberto Luongo made 29 saves and NHL-leading Vancouver closed out its regular-season home schedule.
Daniel Sedin added two assists to push his NHL-leading point total to 102 and the Canucks rebounded from consecutive losses to last-place Edmonton to build on their franchise record-setting 115-point season.
Luongo has four shutouts this season and 55th overall.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 18-of-23 shots before being replaced by Jose Theodore after Kesler scored his third goal—and 40th of the season—on a wrist shot 2:18 into the third period.
OTTAWA (AP)—Filip Kuba scored 1:16 into overtime to lift Ottawa past Montreal.
Bobby Butler had a goal and two assists, the second on Kuba’s drive from the point that got past Montreal backup Alex Auld. Michael Cammalleri drew Montreal even at two with 10.1 seconds left in regulation.
Jason Spezza also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 26 saves.
Brian Gionta scored his team-leading 27th goal for Montreal, which fell short in its first attempt to give coach Jacques Martin his 600th career victory. The Canadiens clinched their fourth straight trip to the playoffs with a 2-1 overtime win over Chicago on Tuesday night.