While last night’s defeat all but assured the Blueshirts will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, the team still has nine games remaining in their schedule, and will begin playing out the string with another game against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. With the Flyers’ victory yesterday, they’ve taken a 4-3 lead in the season series in spite of being outscored by a 29-19 margin across those seven games. David Quinn’s squad will look to earn two points and salvage a tie out of the series tonight.
It will be interesting to see how the players look with the playoffs essentially out of reach. A mentally checked out team could put Quinn’s job on the line by the team the season ends, so keeping his guys motivated will be a top priority.
Player to Watch: Brett Howden
The Blueshirts’ third year center has had a rough go of things this season. Through 38 games, Howden is yet to score a non-empty net goal, and has only notched five assists. However, the rugged center contributed to Brendan Smith’s opening goal last night, providing net front traffic to allow Smith to blast a shot past Flyers’ goaltender Brian Elliott. With only a handful of games prior to the end of his entry level contract, Howden will need to step up his game in order to convince the Rangers he is worthy of a qualifying offer to retain his rights as a restricted free agent. Look for Howden to be active tonight and make his presence on the ice felt.
Enjoy the game!