Down to the wire


The imaginative Ira Podell of the Associated Press presented this hypothetical scenario for tomorrow’s season finale in Newark:

Boston wins tonight. Tie game tomorrow in the third period. Does Tom Renney pull the goalie and go for the regulation win and home-ice advantage, all while risking a regulation loss and a fall to the sixth seed?

My initial response was no way. And then came an important follow-up: Who would the Rangers be playing as the third seed if they finished sixth?

“If it’s Washington, absolutely not,” I added. “If it’s Carolina, Renney might pull the goalie in the first period.”

“If it’s Carolina,” another writer who may choose to remain nameless chimed in, “we might see the start of the Miika Wiikman Era.”

So there you have it. Truth is, the Rangers are capable of beating any team in the East and losing to every team in the East. That’s a general statement, but it’s true.

I believe home ice is very much a priority to this team, but beyond that, I would think they want to avoid facing the surging Capitals. So while a fifth seed against the Devils or a sixth seed against the Hurricanes wouldn’t be terrible, a sixth seed opening in D.C. against Alex Ovechkin  and Co. would qualify as a worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, should Boston lose tonight either in regulation or overtime, the Rangers would be assured a meeting with the Devils and all that would be left to decide would be home-ice advantage. With that in mind, I would have to think Renney would pull Henrik Lundqvist late in a tie game tomorrow afternoon. There’s simply no reason he wouldn’t.


Scott Gomez and Michal Rozsival both sat out practice today to rest. No word yet on Blair Betts’ availability for tomorrow, but it sounded yesterday like he would be ready to return.

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  1. Doodie Machetto on

    Shanahan took 12 shots yesterday, 1 blocked shot, and missed the net 3 times. That’s 15 attempted shots (not counting the shootout). Not one looked like it would go in.

    Get Petr Puck back on the 2nd line.

  2. Tony from AZ on

    All we have to do on Sunday is WIN !!
    Get out the brooms – SWEEP !!

  3. I was thinking that after last night’s games, that we might have a *pull-the-goalie-in-a-tie-game scenario*. But as I learned from seeing the end of a Western Conference game a few years ago, I think before the shootout was added, if you pull the goalie in overtime and a goal is scored against you, your team does not receive the one point for an overtime loss. But if we get into overtime in this game, it won’t matter anyway because the Devils will already have 4th place.

  4. 4th or 5th against the devils is home ice either way. Just cheaper tickets as 5th seed than 4th.

  5. Tony from AZ on

    When will the playoff schedule come out.
    I’m going to try & get tickets in NJ.
    But since I’m flying from AZ I don’t want to be stuck watch the Devils play someone else !

  6. That 3 on 5 goal was embarrasing. Shanny used to be a beast along the boards and in the corners. These days he’s a mice. While I would bring Jagr back next year under no circumstances would bringing Shanny back be a good move,. He has been half the player he was last year and after his incredible start last year his play went down considerably before his collision with Knuble. Notice hoqw everyone was going glove side on Lundqvist in the shootout? He has a very weak glove. I would hope the goalie coach is working with him on it.

  7. THe second line looked better with Prucha on it at the Colisseum, but 3 out of 4 points in back to back games isn’t bad

    Thanks for clearing up what happened with the shootout order but I have one more question. In what world did Dubieliwicz not deserve a star, stopping like 50 shots should be an automatic I think. I was certain he was number one when they annouced it was an Islander…

    Also if anyone saw a replay, the second Islander goal, from where I was sitting it looked like it was under Hank, was it a late whistle or did Hank not really have the puck?

  8. I’ve had with Peter Puck. Somebody sneezes in the blue seats and he falls over. What has he contributed since he’s been in the line-up?. He’s a choppy skater with a poor center of gravity and can’t take a check. In fact one of these days he’s going to be seriously injured. He’ got a reasonably decent shot but can’t position himself quick enough to get off the shot. Shoestrum has it all over him.

  9. graves, yea about the three on five, I was ok with having five forwards but the point guys needde to be our faster defensive forwards, Straka or Gomez not the two slower guys. I know Renney wanted them tog et slapshots but that was just a bad choice. I would have liek to see the kids get some of that five on three time too…

    I don’t know it seemed like the second pp unit allowed the puck to be cleared alot I really think Jagr’s unit had the better chances… Even though Shanny had his chances I would really like to see Pru get in there on the right wing.

    and the first Isle goal was some lazy looking skating by all five Rangers on the ice. From Avery’s turnover down no one seemed to get back, except Tyutin who started back there and then was gotten around, but thats just how I recall it, I could be wrong…

  10. loneranger,

    the fourth line had some chances and I think it was Sjostrem and Prucha really playing well together.. I would liek to see them with Betts when he gets back

  11. I am rooting for the Caps to win tonight. I don’t want the Rangers to face em though. Ovechkin is the most electifying and dominating player in any sport and deserves the added attention playoff Hockey will give him.

  12. Graves9. Good post on Shanny. I don’t think he has another year left in him. Hopefully, if we could win the cup it’ll be an ideal situation for Shanahan. It might be a good idea to keep him in the organization. He’s done alot for Hockey and deserves recognition for his many accomplishments. Re: Lunquist. Just hope it was a bad nite and not a any indication of future play. NOT NOW

  13. Tony from AZ on

    This is some pretty exciting stuff. Down to the last game.
    It’s April 5th & we’re still talking hockey.
    We’re talking about who we’ll play in the playoffs.
    It could be a lot worse – ask any Islander fan (if you can find one)

  14. I agree the team was rather sluggish most of the night. While the Rangers got a ton of shots they didn’t get enough traffic in front of the net. I am very tired of Avery’s careless turnovers.

  15. lol a friedn of mine who is an Isle fan messged me asking if the Rangers could use another fan since he doesn’t have a team playing anymore

    to clarify he was never really a hockey fan till my sister and I made him pick a team, I am guessing he realized he picked the wrong one :^)

  16. poopie exposed on

    gee, what a surprise, not. poopie and graves and lone are all the same jerk, poopie pants. nice try

    can see thru it like a new window

  17. Tony

    i live on Long Islnad, it would be a mighty lonely existance if my sister and I didn’t have friends who rooted for the Isles…

  18. Rangers win the Cup in the final against the Nashville Predators, there is no doubt about it……

  19. If the game is tied, going into the final minute of play tomorrow night, then Renney has no choice but to pull Hank. We dont need a point in this game, or two points in an OT win, or shootout win, we need a regulation win. I dont wanna win this game in OT or a shootout. We need home ice advantage !


    Why did Renney put Pruchs in the shootout last night? In my opinion that was a bad move, i would have went for Cally, or Dubi. But damn, Dawesy, and Sjostrami made same sweet moves. It reminded me of the shootout against the Blues. Hank was horrendous in the shootout though, worst i ever seen him, he got lucky on the 3rd shooter, but other then that he wasn’t good.


    I wouldn’t mind that at all. But it would be tough to see my boys Ortmeyer, and Tootoo cry , lol. Actually the Preds didn’t have Orty in there lineup, and they didn’t say he was a healthy scratch. I wonder what happened to him.

  20. Colten

    at the Garden it seemed liek whenever they were on the ice Sjustrem and Prucha were getting something to happne, I figured they shot as a reward for the regulation play.


    Thats true. But still, i hope Renney wasn’t happy with the one point, cause if we beat the Devs in OT or the shootout, then were stuck in 5th cause we didn’t win the shootout last night.

    Either way, im just glad were in the playoffs. Eliminating the Devs would be huuuge for the organization. We need payback for the 06 playoffs, after that sweep ! We need to bitch these losers around !

  22. I’m pissed the Rangers couldn’t pull one out last night against the Islanders and lock in at least fifth place. I bought Devils round one playoff tickets and I have just about zero desire to go see them play Boston.

    It sad that I’m going to be routing for Buffalo tonight.

  23. Colton

    Agreed, its one thing for some of us fans to say hey we got three out of four points, but I don’t want to hear that from the coach or team.

    I will be going crazy tomorrow because I am going to miss the game, the anticipation is already killing me!!! I think they will rebound, this year we have always gone into Jersey needing a rebound and we have succeeded to a large degree (I say that because it isn’t always in regulation) but I think they will bring their A game. We could quetion whether Vally should have started or who went in the shoot out but really it just comes down to SUnday no matter what. Even if won yesterday out right we still needed to beat Jersey for the home ice (althoguh then an overtime win would have done it)

  24. Orr – He ain’t gonna be pulling Henrik if Boston wins tonight.

    There’s no way the Predators get to the finals this season. Silly me, I thought they’d win last year with Forsberg, but he’s a little bitch. The Avalanche will probably lose in the first round with him.

    I think I might have to root for the Flyers if they match up against Crosby in the first round just to see him cry, but then again, it would probably be better for the league if the Crosbys get into the second round and farther. I would enjoy a series for us against them or the Canadiens, if we all get there.

  25. Am I the only one who thought last night might have been a Valequette night? Not that it matters now….

  26. ACW

    I was going both ways, back to back games I thought Valli would have started one, but also in must win situations I thought go with Hanks. During warmups, watching Hank, I was wishing it was Valli but beyond that… hindsight is 20 20

  27. I thought before the game Valiquette should start, then Henrik looked awkward during the game, but of course still made some good saves.

  28. I’m surprised it wasn’t Hank honestly…

    Either way tomorrow’s game was going to be meaningful to some extent… and ultimately… yesterday was his last shot at resting.

    I dunno. I trust Renney for the most part (and I’m sure Hank had something to say about it) so I hope he knows what he’s doing.

  29. Apologies in advance…I did not read many posts, just skimmed.

    I don’t have much more to add about the game, other than the BS starting the shootout. “Gimme a second”…gimme a break. The outcome of that was like something out of a bad movie.

    I say this without disrespect to the many knowledgable faithful who sit in the 300’s. I sit up top 99% of the time in friends season seats. Since I had my own in ’02-’03, I’ve only sat lower for Messier Night, Gm5 vs Buff last year, and 2 preseason games. Last night is definitely last time. I had a horrible time sitting amongst the reasons I sit there so little. Never seems to fail. So to compensate BeerMe! lived up to his name. For the start of the 3rd, we went up top and stood behind our usual seats and enjoyed the msg atmosphere that I grew to love.

    Spent up to this point of a beautiful saturday on the couch, nursing a hangover, watching a Drtv service dude install my gigantic new dish. So Henrick, “yes”. I do see in HD!


  30. They need to redo lines two and three. Whether it’s the Devils/Caps/Canes I think Gomez and Dawes should be together with Shanny ,not Avery.

    How would you all feel about an Avery/Drury/Cally line used a checking unit against the Staals/Ovechkins/Eliases. It would be like what Drury did last year in Buf.

  31. Emm I really liekd Pru on the second line instead of Shanny, I am going through the pics I took at the game at the COlliseum (for yet another video) and he was all over the place. I know that line didn’t score but it sure generated chances. I wouldn’t mind a Dawes Gomez Prucha line. Then that leaves space for the Avery Drury Cally line… but it would only work if Avery managaed to piss off the other top line players.The way he did v Atlanta not like Buffalo where he was ineffective (needless to say if our opponenet is the Devs then I wouldn’t mind seeing Avery match agains Gionta, he is the hot temper with skill and I would love to have Avery get him to take himself out of the game ala Kovulchuk. I don’t know that he would be able to get under Elias’s skin that way the guy seems calmer.

    What about three lines
    Staka Dubi Jagr
    Dawes Gomez Prucha
    Avery Drury Cally

    and then have Sjostrem Shanny and Orr to step in when needed. Physical play going on, thorugh Orr out and rest a right wing. Forward getting worn down put on Sju or Shanny (because I do want Sju to get evenstrength minutes) Reserve Shanny mostly for PP and don’t put him on with Jagr…

    I have to say Jagr’s power play line looked good the last two games…

    Beer Me,

    sorry you didn’t have a good tme in the 300’s. When I get season tic I hope to be in the 400’2, better angle for pictures, but right now when I get tix they are ussully in the 300’s

  32. Some more observations from checking my photos… is Aver not very good at getting rebounds? He goes to the net, but whenever a bounce comes his way it seems to go past or over his stick. WHen he gets passed to he is all right, but rebounds… I mean I am sure its tons harder becasue of the unpredictability and such but… just still thinking of his turnovers and such I guess, I am picking on him here

  33. Beer Me….best of luck with the new 5-LNB dish….I hope you got the HR-20 or 21 so you can record to DVR…Just out of curiousity, how come you do not like sitting in 300’s?

  34. WHat about Orr? When he is set to return? We are going to need some physical presence.

  35. It’s over! Rangers WILL play the Devils. Thank you to Buf for helping them avoid the Caps.

    Great job by Pollie in Nashville after the turnover to build a young gritty team and get those guys in the playoffs; it’ll be fun to watch our buddies Jed and Jan Jan take on Detroit.

    Great job by a former gritty Ranger McPhee to make some great trades and get AO and comp in the playoffs, they could be THAT team that goes to the Conference finals this year. Poor CAR, they had a weird year and need to get younger, and the two trades they made were bad long term as Ruutu is injury prone and Commodore/Stilman will be missed (and hopefully one of them ends up on NYR next year).

    Rangers vs. Devs!

  36. Well now there is no question tie game late 3rd peroid Henrik to the bench for the extra skater.

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    YES! My gamble on buying the Devils playoff tickets has paid off!


  38. Can we all please sign the “Give Nigel Dawes Power Play Time” petition as he has like 5 goals vs. Brodeur this year.

  39. I still don’t understand why people gave Washington players for nothing, like Fedorov and Huet, unless they really wanted those guys off their teams. Maybe this will keep us off of Versus with a Capitals-Senators matchup, though I’m not sure if Versus is allowed to cover Canadian teams ever, just get the feed from CBC or TSN sometimes in the playoffs, but those are usually for late games.

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