Rangers drop final game of the regular season to Toronto

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Noel Acciari #52 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his third period game winning goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. The Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Noel Acciari #52 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his third period game winning goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. The Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Noel Acciari #52 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his third period game winning goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. The Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 13: Noel Acciari #52 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his third-period game-winning goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023, in New York City. The Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Game 82 ends in defeat. It was a game in which neither team really needed anything but it became very entertaining nonetheless. There was late drama, goals, and controversy, and there was an out-of-town scoreboard indicating where the Rangers will be heading for game one of the postseason later this week. We’ve got all of that and more but for now, we have the final game of the regular season before we can start to talk about it.

Kaapo Kakko got the scoring underway with a backhand finish early in the second period. His 18th of the season would cement the strong year he has had as a member of the boys-to-men line just behind the solidified top six. Kakko has improved a fair bit this season having a modest improvement which is a good sign for someone that is just 22 years old. He’s still got a very bright future in this league.

Unfortunately, the Leafs would tie the game soon after from the stick of Liljegren but it wouldn’t be long before Artemi Panarin would restore the Blueshirts’ lead. A powerplay blast from the Breadman saw the Rangers getting their lead back in the third period, but it would not be enough for the Blueshirts to take a victory from the final home game of the regular season as William Nylander and Noel Accari would seal the Leaf’s victory.

So, for the Rangers, it’s time to prepare for game one. Due to Carolina holding on in that carnival of a game between the Hurricanes and the Panthers, we know that it will be the Devils who will be the Blueshirts’ round-one opponent regardless of how their game against Washington pans out. At the time of writing this, that game is still in overtime and there will be plenty to watch for in what should be an entertaining series.