Well, here we are. The New York Rangers are still currently sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot, with two teams desperately closing in on them. The Winnipeg Jets are currently tied with the Rangers, but because they have the extra game played, the Rangers are ahead of them. The Buffalo Sabres are also creeping back into the race, who the Rangers actually play tomorrow night.
Now looking at tonight's game, the Rangers are facing a team that has been in the basement all season long, and is looking to play spoiler. Tonight's game is probably one of the bigger games, just because of the implications it could potentially have on the playoff race. The simple outcome for this game is that the Rangers absolutely need two points out this game. No if's, and's or but's. Come away with two points, and worry about Buffalo tomorrow.
Florida Panthers (13-26-6) vs New York Rangers (21-17-4)
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY - 7:00 PM
Television: MSG | Radio: ESPN NY 98.7
Opponent's Blog: Litter Box Cats | Tickets: New York Rangers Tickets
Some Quick Thoughts:
- Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his ninth consecutive start tonight for the Rangers. According to Andrew Gross, this will be Lundqvist's 18th start in 19 games, and the 24th of the Rangers last 26 games. It appears as if the Rangers will ride Lundqvist right into the playoffs, in the event that they actually make it.
- Brian Boyle's injury appears to be a little bit worse than originally thought. As a result, the Rangers called up Chris Kreider yesterday afternoon, and he is expected to slot into the lineup tonight. Although Boyle's injury will force him to miss some time, it's expected to be short term rather than long term.
- Derek Dorsett and Marc Staal continued to skate this morning, and Dorsett also underwent the Rangers rigorous conditioning training. Doresett did note that he hasn't begun to shoot the puck yet, but is expected to "in the next week or so".
Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Chris Kreider
Ryane Clowe - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Arron Asham - Darroll Powe - Taylor Pyatt
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Anton Stralman - Michael Del Zotto
Steve Eminger - John Moore
Scratches: Matt Gilroy (healthy), Roman Hamrlik (healthy), Marc Staal (upper-body), Derek Dorsett (upper-body), Brian Boyle (lower-body).