For the final time until September, the New York Rangers will hit the ice to do that hockey. This year's season finale will be taking place at the Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers. For the first time since 2004, New York's final game will be played without the chance of playoff hockey to follow, as today's game is all about draft positioning:
A regulation loss locks the Rangers into the bottom nine of the league standings, ensuring at least a 16% of moving into the top three selections of the Entry Draft, while also leaving the door open for Chicago (@ Winnipeg Jets) and Edmonton (vs Vancouver Canucks) to leapfrog them. A non-regulation loss would ensure the same thing, but make it more difficult for Chicago and Edmonton to move ahead of New York in the standings.
Any type of win would prevent the Rangers from falling lower than ninth from the bottom, as well as open the door for the Islanders to drop below them and secure the increased lottery odds. A shootout win would leave Blueshirts' fans rooting for the Islanders to take their game (@ Detroit Red Wings) into overtime, while a non-shootout win would require an Islander victory for the Rangers to still finish below them.
A Rangers regulation win also creates a small possibility for the Flyers to miss the playoffs outright, but seeing the Florida Panthers miss out would be infinitely more satisfying than watching Philadelphia head home after today's action.
Enjoy the game. Or don't, since rooting for your team to lose is never fun.