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New York Rangers Game Thread: 4/9, Senators at Rangers

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The New York Rangers will kick off their regular season finale tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Ottawa Senators.

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Game Eighty-One, the Ottawa Senators at the New York Rangers
Record: 52-21-7
Opponent: 41-26-13
Season Series: 2-0-0, Rangers
Buy Rangers Tickets! | Senators vs Rangers coverage | Silver Seven

The New York Rangers will kickoff their regular season finale tonight at Madison Square Garden, when they welcome in the desperate Ottawa Senators. With Tuesday's 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers locked up both the Eastern Conference, as well as the Presidents Trophy to essentially complete their regular season. The two games remaining on the schedule are more or less meaningless from the Rangers perspective, but their opponent tonight still has a lot to play for.

The Senators have been on the brink of a playoff berth for quite a while now, and with an overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins the other night, they are still very much alive. As the standings sit right now, Ottawa is currently tied with the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. A win tonight would vault them into one of the final playoff spots with just a single game remaining.

With nothing left on the line for the Rangers, they have elected to "rest" a few players tonight as they gear up for their impending playoff run next week. Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal will all be out of the lineup tonight as they tend to their respective bumps and bruises. As a result, James Sheppard will remain in the lineup, while Ryan Bourque and Chris Summers, who were recalled from Hartford earlier this afternoon, will also be dressing.

Tonight will be interesting in the sense that the outcome of this game will change nothing for the Rangers, and we will get to enjoy some stress-free hockey. While the win would certainly be nice, I don't think anyone would hate seeing the Senators pass the Bruins for the final wild card spot.

New York Rangers April Schedule

4/2, Rangers at Wild, 8:00 PM
(win)
4/4, Devils at Rangers, 7:00 PM (WIN!)
4/6, Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:00 PM (WIN!)
4/7, Rangers at Devils, 7:00 PM (WIN!)
4/9, Senators at Rangers, 7:00 PM
4/11, Rangers at Capitals, 12:30 PM

Bryan's Player to Watch: Ryan Bourque

With the Rangers electing to rest some players tonight, Ryan Bourque is scheduled to make his NHL debut with the team that drafted him back in 2009. Bourque has certainly made some noise in training camp, but never appeared ready to make the jump to a full-time role in the NHL. Tonight, the Rangers will give him that opportunity, and while it will only be a short stay, he will have the chance to make the most of this awesome opportunity.