April 5, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Artem Anisimov (42) moves the puck up ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
So here we are, the final game of the regular season. If any of you had it penned down that the New York Rangers would be within a win of clinching the President's Trophy, you should probably also spend the rest of your nights at the roulette table somewhere in Las Vegas.
Regardless, it's a reality right now.
Tonight, the Rangers will certianly look to bounce back from a very poor performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night, which resulted in a 5-2 loss on the road. Tonight (remember it's a 6:30 p.m. start) the Rangers will play the final home game of the regular season.
Join me after the jump for more.
The Rangers, as a whole, weren't on their game against the Penguins. I attributed the loss to the team simply taking the night off something that tends to happen around this time of year -- look at the St. Louis Blues who got beat up by the Phoenix Coyotes last night, but I digress.
This is more than just the last game of the regular season, this is more than just a game that has playoff implications for the Rangers if they happen to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. This is the final tune-up game John Tortorella and the coaching staff have left. Don't underestimate how important a game like this can be.
You always want to go into the playoffs with a little bit of confidence and a little bit of momentum. Well, the Rangers will have that even if they lose 12-0 tonight. You don't win your division and walk into the playoffs thinking, "oh boy I hope we can pull out a few wins."
Tonight, however, the Rangers are playing a team who they might actually see in the first round of the playoffs. So losing tonight -- especially without a fight -- wouldn't exactly be OK either.
As of writing this article, there is still no word on whether or not Henrik Lundqvist will play. According to Andrew Gross Lundqvist has improved and can now grip his stick with "three and a half fingers instead of just two." I don't really see the need for him to play tonight, but there is time before the first game of the playoffs, so it wouldn't wear him down at all. I just think that in Lundqvist's case, the Rangers should be overly cautious with the injury and just give him more time to rest.