Sunday, April 11, 2010

This Is It: It's Us or Philly

Game 82 and the season comes down to this. One more game. One game for the whole season.

It's a death match. The New York Rangers and our hated foes – the Philadelphia Flyers. Every other team in the NHL has either clinched or been eliminated. Boston beat Carolina yesterday and clinched. And Montreal, despite a big time effort from Toronto – managed to get to Overtime before losing and that point put Scotty Gomez and company in the playoffs.

So forget the scoreboard – forget the other teams – forget everything else and find a way to be in front of your TV at 3pm today. The Rangers and Flyers face off in South Philadelphia with a very simple situation. The winner makes the playoffs and the loser's season ends.

Win or lose – we have to admire how our Rangers fought their way back from the dead to get in this position. Three weeks ago we lost to Boston 2-1 and our season looked over. But, with our hockey life slipping away – with the media asking the Rangers to look back on a failed year – our Blueshirt Brothers fought back. Against all odds they put together a 7-1-1 run, pulling in 15 of a possible 18 points to climb back into contention and put themselves in this position.

Meanwhile, the Flyers were going 2-7-1, grabbing just 5 of a possible 20 points.

The Flyers have lost not one, but 2 starting goalies this year: Ray Emery and Michael Leighton. So it comes down to the old man from Woonsocket, Rhode Island – Brian Boucher, 33 years old. Boucher has a 8-18-3 record this year with a .898 save percentage. In our favor is our starting goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist, 35-27, and a .919 save percentage.

And the pressure – all of it – is fully on Philly today. They've been collapsing while we've been surging. A loss would put them below 8th place for the first time in months – on the last day. They're the one's with something to lose.

Our Rangers should be loosey goosey. According to the press, our season ended three weeks ago. They were supposed to be long gone by now.

But we're not. We have one more miracle to go. One more game and we'll shock the world.
You wanted a season of meaningful hockey games? Well, Game 82 is for everything. We win and the playoffs await us – and the Cup will be just 16 wins away. We lose and … well, you know.

We go to war today without Sean Avery – still down with a knee injury. And most probably without Ryan Callahan – who re-injured his leg Friday, left the arena in a leg brace, and didn't skate yesterday.

So - Is Tortorella a master motivator or a knucklehead? Is Glen Sather a confused, sad old man, or a wise old veteran GM who always kept working to improve his hockey team? Was this season a rousing charge to the playoffs or a complete and utter failure?

We'll know in a few hours. One more time fellows – one more game to shock the world. Let's Go Rangers

Dave Pucks Predicts: Rangers 3-2.


  1. Thanks Kyle. They did go - but ended up just a few feet short of the finish line.