New York Rangers win narrows gap with Boston Bruins to four points, Pittsburgh Penguins move into first, and more

new york rangers
Apr 25, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers is surrounded by teammates after he scored a hat trick in the second period against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on April 25, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Press the pause button before writing off the New York Rangers. Even though it appeared they suffered a set back with back to back losses last week, a combination of two NY wins and two Boston losses have closed the gap to 4 points with 7 games remaining. Two of which are against the Bruins.

Rangers narrow playoff gap with another offensive explosion

The Blueshirts could’ve cashed in their chips after getting hammered by the Islanders 6-1, on night where every team ahead of them won. They could have also done it after losing to the Flyers 3-2 the next game. Instead, they put their heads down and won the last two games.

By beating the Sabres 6-3 yesterday, the Rangers have narrowed the gap with the Bruins to four points. Mika Zibanejad notched a hat-trick in the effort, his third of the season. Adam Fox notched three assists to continue making his case for the Norris Trophy. And Kaapo Kakko is starting to prove why he was the number 2 overall pick in 2019 with two goals.

“That’s the only thing we can do, try to win games and see how far that takes us, really,” Zibanejad said. “That’s our mindset right now, just focus on the next game, try to get the two points and move on from there.”

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Penguins shutout Bruins and move into first place

pittsburgh penguins
Apr 25, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel (59) celebrates his game winning goal with center Sidney Crosby (87) and defenseman Kris Letang (58) against the Boston Bruins during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins shutout the Bruins 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We have a new team in first place in the East Division. The Penguins came up big and shutout the Bruins by a 1-0 score. Tristan Jarry stopped all 30 Bruins pucks fired his way and Jake Guenztel notched his 21st goal in the third for the Pens win.

The victory jumped the Penguins over the idle Capitals for first place by one point. Washington currently has a game in hand but are without Alex Ovechkin who suffered a lower-body injury and is doubtful for their next game. As for the Bruins, they are still very much in control of their own destiny. Even though the Rangers have narrowed the gap to just four points, play Boston two more times, and hold tie-breakers the B’s have two games in hand.

One more contest to cover in the East as the Devils blew a lead to fall to the Flyers 4-3 in a shootout. Claude Giroux scored twice in 22 seconds with under two minutes to play tying it in the third. The Devils have not won a game in their last 10. They have just two wins in their last 16 contests.

Lightning win it in OT, close gap for first place

Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning in OT over the Blues Jackets for a 4-3 win. The victory narrows the margin with the first place Canes to two points and separates the top three teams by a point each. Carolina holds first with 68 points, Florida has 67, and Tampa sits with 66.

“I felt like I had a lot of good looks today and wasn’t able to convert,” Hedman said. “It was kind of a mess off the face-off and we were able to retrieve the puck. ‘Pointer’ made a great play and I had some time and space. It’s a good feeling.”

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