NYR can clinch playoff spot with win/point vs Sens tonight
"We control our destiny," said Marc Staal. "We don't want to backdoor it," said Brad Richards.
It's simple: The Rangers, with a win at MSG tonight, can clinch a post-season berth with 93 points. Then they would have three more games---two at home---to try to secure second place in the Metro Division and home-ice advantage in the first round.
Ottawa lost to the Canadians 7-3 last night and Alain Vigneault addressed that and other issues with the players before this morning's practice in Westchester. Teams coming off a long road trip (nine days for the Rangers) often stumble in the first game back home. Vigneault said he was "banking" on the team's awareness of the oh-so-close playoff scenario to provide more motivation.
Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal....Ryan McDonagh (shoulder), who did not practice, is out for the second consecutive game... Brian Boyle, rather than Dominic Moore, is expected to start on the left side of Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis for the first time. Figure that he will be a net-front presence... Moore will center Carcillo and Dorsett on the fourth line. Other trios remain intact: Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello and Hagelin-Stepan-Nash.
The d-pairs will probably rotate, as in the shootout loss to Colorado on Thursday.
More later from MSG...