Friday, April 9, 2010

Thanks for nothing Sabres – The Rangers will have to do this ourselves

Okay - last night's game proves it. The Sabres hate us. Last year Scotty Gomez injured Ryan Miller - and the Sabres missed the playoffs and they despise us with a passion. It doesn't matter that Gomez is a Canadien now - the Sabres hate our uniforms and anyone in them.

So last night, the Sabres - who are just 1 point out of the 2nd seed - rested Ryan Miller so that the Boston Bruins could win. And win they did, by a score of 3-1, propelling them to 3 points above the Rangers with 2 games to play.

So any hope of sneaking into the 8th spot without passing the Flyers is gone now. The Flyers are the 8th place team now and we have to pass them or go home.

And so - possibly for the final time this season - the Rangers have a meaningful hockey game to play tonight.

Who The Hell Are We Playing? You know this. It is the Philadelphia Flyers. When the season schedule first came out we all looked at this final home-and-home series and wondered how important these games would be. It turns out they are mighty important. The Rangers need a win tonight to stay alive in the playoff race. Anything less and our season ends. If you're looking for omens: We swept the final home-and-home last year - but that's ancient history now. For example: Blair Betts - who scored a big goal for the Rangers in that series last year - is now a Flyer!

Philly, after losing 7 of 8, have won twice in a row now and stand one win away from clinching. They are a physically imposing team - and we'll have to stand up to them.

Our job is simple - beat the Flyers - defend our home ice - keep Philly from celebrating a playoff berth in Madison Square Garden - and set up Sunday night's winner take all game for the final spot.

Our main advantage is in net. The Flyers are forced to go with the last man standing - their third goalie Brian Boucher. We'll have Lundqvist - the man we've lived and died with all season long.

The Flyers will likely get back their leading scorer Jeff Carter - who will be a morning-skate decision after a long absence with a broken foot.

So, faithful Ranger fans and Blueshirt Brother readers, here we go. You wanted playoffs? This is our playoff right now.

Win tonight or go home. One last home game - for the season.

To do that, we need Gaborik to be Gaborik. We need Drury to be Captain Clutch again. We need Dubinsky and Callahan to step up. We need Anisimov and Prust to keep rising to the task. We need Olli to be the Olli he can be.

We need the defense to be... well let's start with competent and work our way up from there.

Look. We're Ranger fans and we hope to see our team playing meaningful games. And game 81 of this 82 game season is very meaningful. That's more than the Islanders got. It's more than a lot of teams got. So I guess we should be thankful we got this far - especially since it took a 6-1-1 burst to get here.

But is it too much to ask to have game 82 mean something as well? We'll find out tonight.

Let's get this last home win. Let's rise up and defend our Garden. Let's go Rangers!

Dave Puck Predicts: Rangers win 3-2 in Regulation. (Please)

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