Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
To avoid Pens, NYR must make point vs. Devils today
Well, it's down to the wire...
With the Islanders (55 points) grabbing a point in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres Friday, they are in sixth place in the ever-changing East. The seventh-place Ottawa Senators and the eighth-place Rangers have 54.
So, since the Rangers hold the first tiebreaker with the Islanders (regulation and overtime wins), to finish at least seventh, the Rangers need a point against the Devils this afternoon at MSG.
So, I'm expecting Henrik Lundqvist to play his 14th consecutive game.
The Senators, with two games left, tonight against the Flyers and Sunday in Boston, have the best chance to finish sixth and play Washington in the first round.
The Rangers do not want to finish eighth and travel to Pittsburgh to face the No. 1 seed Penguins, who have 70 points and will have stars James Neal and Sidney Crosby returning to action, post-injury.
They’d prefer, privately at least, to face either Washington, the Bruins (61 points, two to play) or Canadiens (61 points, one to play), although Montreal has been dominant at home against the Blueshirts for several seasons.
For a sixth-place finish, and a meeting with the Capitals, the Rangers would need a win, and some help. In a tie, they also hold the tie-breaker over the Senators. Ottawa would clinch sixth with three points in its two remaining games.