NHL Playoffs 2011: Rangers Ahead After 2 Periods, Playoff Hopes Still Alive

Mark RitterSenior Writer IApril 9, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers skates against the Montreal Canadiens on January 11, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Montreal defeated the Rangers 2-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are doing their part to keep their playoff hopes alive, leading the New Jersey Devils after two periods this afternoon.

New Jersey forward Nick Palmieri opened the scoring at 2:03 of the first period, putting the Rangers playoff hopes in jeopardy, if only briefly.

Rangers forward Chris Drury tied the game at one with a nice backhand goal at the 3:14 mark of the first before Ilya Kovalchuk put the Devils ahead 2-1 with just 42 seconds remaining in the first.

Drury, made an earlier than expected return. The Rangers fans have to be excited at his first goal of the season.

The Rangers fought back hard in the second, scoring three unanswered goals, starting with Wojtek Wolski scoring at the 01:52 mark, followed by rookie defenseman Ryan McDonagh snapping a shot past Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur at the 11:59 and finishing with a nice goal from Brandon Prust, who made it 4-2 for the Rangers after two periods.

The Carolina Hurricanes—the team currently battling the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings— will play the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:00 p.m. (ET). If the Hurricanes win, they're in ... no matter what the Rangers do. But it now looks like they will have to win to take advantage of a favorable tiebreaker.

Stay tuned for more updates and the ever changing NHL playoff picture.