Rangers blow past Canes; McDonagh and Kreider skate; Playoff story lines; Staal upset with Neil hit

Al Bello

Today's New York Rangers notes.

We're about a week away from playoff hockey, and two regular season games away from the end of the schedule. We know the Rangers will be playing in the two-three Metropolitan Division series in the first round, but now, home-ice is on the line. Your morning notes.

Despite a slow start, a pair of power play goals from Brad Richards, and a trio of assists from Martin St. Louis led the Rangers past the Hurricanes Tuesday night. Some recaps of the 4-1 win. [NY Post] [ESPN NY] [Daily News] [The Record] [Newsday] [Blueshirts United]

Both Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider skated on Tuesday, as they continue to progress in their recoveries. There's a chance McDonagh could still return before the regular season ends, while Kreider is still in a cast, and remains out indefinitely. [Blueshirt Banter] [Rangers Rants] [Blueshirts Blog]

The Rangers will officially be going to the postseason. Now, the team's focus has turned to locking up home ice in the first round. [NY Post]

And with a first round opponent guaranteed to be the Flyers or Blue Jackets, the Rangers opening postseason series won't be short of story lines. [Rangers Rants]

There was a point this season when Henrik Lundqvist was 10-15-2, and going through the toughest stretch of his career. But the King has since righted the ship, and catapulted the Rangers back into the playoffs. [Daily News]

Marc Staal normally keeps his temper in check, but after retaliating to a Chris Neil hit on Sunday, Staal was clear about the catalyst: he thought the hit was late. [Rangers Rants]

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