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Down to the wire

Posted By Sam Weinman On April 5, 2008 @ 12:48 pm In Uncategorized | 48 Comments

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.

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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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