It hasn't been pretty for the New York Rangers in recent weeks, but they were able to hold on and clinch the first playoff spot in the East.

The Rangers were heading into Monday night against the Devils losing two games in a row and worried about where they would land in the playoffs.  After last nights 4-2 win against New Jersey, they are worried no more as they clinch the first playoff birth in the East.  They join St. Louis as the only NHL teams to clinch so far.  This is the earliest they have clinched since 1992.

Henrik Lundkvist was clutch in both the first and third periods for the Rangers, stopping 20 shots.  It was just what New York needed to get back on track after back to back home losses to Colorado and Pittsburgh.  Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that he didn't know that the win secured a playoff spot until after the win.

The Rangers continue their home stand on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

[ESPN]