Rangers keep pace with Islanders after slipping by Leafs

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Phil Kessel had his second straight two-goal game against the New York Rangers, but this time, his Toronto Maple Leafs fell short of the win.

The Rangers kept pace with the New York Islanders by notching their 44th point of the season with Wednesday’s 3-2 (SO) victory, but remain in eighth place because of the regulation/overtime win tiebreaker:

7. Islanders: 20-16-4 for 44 points, 17 ROW
8. Rangers: 20-16-4 for 44 points, 16 ROW

Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin powered the win by producing one-goal, one-assist nights each, with Hagelin breaking a 10-game goal drought in the process.

The Rangers, Islanders and perhaps even the Winnipeg Jets might also be interested to chart the decline of the sixth place Ottawa Senators. While the resilient Sens currently hold that spot with 44 points because they have a game in hand, they’ve also lost five games in a row.

The Buds fell short of a victory, but with 49 standings points, they seem firmly in fifth place. Depending on how the Northeast Division race shakes out, that could mean their first playoff series in ages could come against either the Boston Bruins or (gulp) the Montreal Canadiens.