Friday, April 2, 2010

Best Day Off Ever

Sing it with me: "Day Off! Day-ay-ay-off. Playoffs come - we don't wanna go home."

Why am I singing like an idiot? Because yesterday - while the Rangers had the day off - we had three separate hockey games go exactly the right way. Three of the teams we're chasing for a playoff spot lost last night - all in regulation - and the impossible dream of a Ranger Playoff got a little less impossible.

First of all - our hated cross town rivals - the Islanders - who had lost 14 straight games to the Philadelphia Flyers - managed six goals against a Philly team decimated by injury - and held on for a 6-4 win that kept the Flyers from pulling away from us.

Next - the 9th place Atlanta Thrashers lost 2-1 to the Washington Capitals.

And finally - the Boston Bruins failed to score against Florida and fell 1-0.

And so - here's how the playoff race looks.

The Rangers are in 10th with 6 games to go and 78 points. We need to finish 8th or better to make the playoffs. That means we need to catch at least 2 teams.

The Thrashers are 2 points in front of us with 80 points. But - the Rangers have a game at hand - and - the remaining Thrashers' schedule is brutal. They face the Caps again - and the Devils - and the Penguins twice. They could easily lose 3 of those games.

The Flyers - who have lost an amazing number of goal tenders and other players to injury this year are 4 point up on us. But they have been playing very badly the last few weeks. And the Rangers have a game at hand. And we close out the season with a home and home with Philly.

What that means is - if the Thrashers lose as expected to the top teams they are facing - and if the Rangers can get within 3 points of the Flyers with 2 games to play - we will control our own destiny.

But there's more. The Bruins and Canadiens are only 4 points up on us as well - and we hold a game in hand against each of them as well. We're only 4 points out of 6th.

Tonight the Flyers play the Canadiens. Let's root for no over time ("NOOT" for short"). That game guarantees that one of those teams will stay at 82 points.

And the Rangers head to Tampa Bay to take on John Tortorella's former team - the Lightning. The table is set - all we have to do is win. All of last night’s scoreboard good luck inspired by the Magic Rat (my lucky Jean Ratelle card) means nothing if the Rangers can't hold up our end of the bargain.

Just win, baby. The playoffs are there for the taking. Let's go Rangers!

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