NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Vesey scored a tie breaking goal in the third period and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the regular-season finale for both teams Sunday night.
Ryan McDonagh had a goal and an assist, Derek Stepan had a goal and Mika Zibanejad added two assists for the Rangers, who will match up against the Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens in the postseason.
Nick Bonino and Carter Rowney scored for the Penguins, who will face the Metropolitan Division rival Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round as they look to defend their Stanley Cup.
With the game tied at 2, Vesey scored his 16th of the season on a backhand at 7:23 of the third period to help the Rangers end the regular season with a victory.
Both teams were locked into their playoff positions entering the game. Superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were among the dozen players who missed the game for the Penguins and Tristan Jarry made his NHL debut in net. Jarry finished with 22 saves.
Magnus Hellberg, who was recalled from the American Hockey League earlier in the day, started in goal for the Rangers and had 22 saves in his first NHL win. Henrik Lundqvist was given the day off and backup Antti Raanta missed the game with an injury. Forwards Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast also sat out for New York.
Nick Bonino opened the scoring when he beat Vesey to a rebound in front and backhanded his 18th goal of the season at 9:16 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, Jarry made a spectacular save on Tanner Glass. Jarry made a stick save on Glass’ shot at the goal line then batted the puck in the air and grabbed it with his left glove.
McDonagh tied at 1 at 13:54 when he skated into the zone and wristed a shot past Jarry for his sixth of the season. And Stepan gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with a shot from the point for a power-play goal, his 17th of the season overall, with 1:29 left in the period.
Rowney tied it at 2 late in the second as he took advantage of a turnover and skated in and beat Hellberg with a wrist shot for his third of the season at 13:38.
NOTES: Mats Zuccarello won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award named for former New York City police officer Steven McDonald, who died in January at 59. It has been presented annually since the 1987-88 season. … Defenseman Ryan McDonagh was honored as the team’s most valuable player. The award was voted on by members of the Rangers media and has been given annually since the end of the 1941-42 season. … Jesper Fast earned the “Players’ Player” award, which is selected by his teammates and has been given annually since the end of the 1958-59 season. … Amanda Kessel of the U.S. women’s hockey team was in attendance. Kessel and the U.S. won the gold medal at the world championships with a 3-2 overtime win over Canada. Kessel is the sister of Penguins forward Phil Kessel.
Penguins: Host the Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs.
Rangers: Travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.