Rangers Vs. Flyers: Pre-Game Notes

Some notes before the Rangers take on the Flyers.

- First thing is first. Thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by the explosions in Boston on Monday. Our thoughts are with you guys. In moments like this, I tend to try and focus on the good in the world, because it significantly outnumbers the bad even if it doesn't feel that way. We should be focusing on the first responders, the runners and spectators who ran straight from the finish line to donate blood, the plethora of people who donated to the Red Cross, the people who ran towards the explosions to help strangers and the people who have opened their homes to those in need. Remember them, not some coward who made this happen in the first place.

- Also, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in Stanley Cup Of Chowder's open thread in the wake of the attack. That was supposed to be therapeutic, and my word was it ever. I often say that SB Nation is like a family, and we have the best community on the internet. Well, I think SB Nation Hockey is the best family within SB Nation. That was on display last night. Thanks to all.

- So, moving onto hockey because I don't know what else to say:

- This is a huge game for the New York Rangers. We've already talked about how 5-1-1 guarantees the Rangers a playoff berth no matter what happens. Well, a win tonight coupled with an Islanders and Jets loss would throw the Rangers into 7th place and push Winnipeg four points back. A loss by the Rangers and a win by those two teams would still see the Rangers sit in 8th, but they would be tied with the Jets in points. If the Islanders, Jets and Senators lose and the Rangers win (in regulation), they move to sixth place.

- And how important is that ROW column going to be down the stretch? Remember, that's the first true tiebreaker. The Rangers have 17 of those. The Islanders have 18, the Senators have 17 and the Jets have 20. Makes Dan Girardi's goal that much more important.

- The Flyers are coming off a big win against Montreal last night. They don't have much to play for, which will make tonight's game that much more difficult. There's nothing to lose for Philadelphia, but everything to gain in knocking off division rivals in their quest to make the playoffs.

- So Henrik Lundqvist won't start every game down the stretch? I'm saying that's a "hopeful truth" by John Tortorella. If the Rangers need all seven games to clinch, Lundqvist will play all of them. I'm thinking Tortorella hopes the Rangers can clinch sooner rather than later and give the King some rest.

- Seeing some really good things about Derek Dorsett recently. Apparently he's skating on his own a little bit before the team has been practicing. The Rangers can really use a guy like him. Big, tough, can kill penalties and can grind. He played in all kinds of huge situations over in Columbus, the Rangers are going to need a guy like him in the playoffs.

- I think John Moore has gotten better and better with each game he's played. And you all know my thoughts on Derick Brassard already.

- Tonight is going to be one of those "Special teams" night. If the Rangers power play can be what it has been since the trade deadline, the Rangers are going to make things much easier on themselves.

- Want to know why the Rangers went out and got Ryane Clowe? For situations and games like this. Let's see what he can do tonight. He's already done great things against the Penguins, but this rivalry is a little tougher physically.