Another litmus test. Carolina is 10-1-2 in its last 13, all with red-hot Cam Ward in goal. We know the Rangers soundly beat the Devils with perhaps their best performance of the year, yet we also know how mightily the Devils are struggling (will Lou Lamoriello lop another coach just before the playoffs?) and how that struggle continued last night against the Penguins.
And we know the game before the victory over the Devils, the Rangers didn’t play poorly, made some terrible mistakes, went with four defensemen, and were victims of some questionable, at best, calls. But that was another game against a smokin’ hot team. The Pens are 13-1-2 in their last 16 after pounding the Devils last night. Oh, the Pitt game was on the road, the Devils game at home.
So the Rangers go on the road to play another team steamrolling the league. And needing it. Can they possibly beat the Hurricanes? Can they afford not to?
And, as hot as the Canes have been, the Rangers can tie them in points with a win tonight. Imagine.
The whole thing has really bunched up the last two nights, with Pittsburgh, Montreal and Florida all winning, and Philly losing but having another in its home-and-home with Toronto remaining. The Habs get the Islanders tonight.
After this, four remain: At Boston Saturday in another of those cursed matinee games; home for Montreal in what might be the biggest game of the year Tuesday; and the season-ending home-and-home with the Flyers. As you already know, the Rangers have the toughest remaining schedule of the bunch fighting for Eastern playoff spots 4-5-6-7-8 … and 9.
A few things.
I know you guys miss JD. Well, John Davidson, the president of the surging St. Louis Blues, will be Gary Bettman’s guest on his NHL Hour show today at 4 p.m., on XM channel 204 and Sirius channel 208, or NHL.com. You can ask JD questions by calling in at 1-877-645-6696 or by email at email@example.com.
Two words: Al Montoya.
I was watching one of the games the other night, I think it was Edmonton, and doing the color commentary was none other than Louie DeBrusk, the man whom Glen Sather tried to get as compensation (with Steve Rice) for the Rangers’ signing Adam Graves in 1991, and whom Sather did get (with Rice and Bernie Nicholls and a big bag of cash) for Mark Messier a month or so later.
I was also watching Seinfeld, the backwards episode with the trip to India. The groom, Pinter Ronowat, looks like Michal Rozsival. Anybody else notice that?
“You can call us Usha and Zubin.”
“Well, Usha …”
Not sure if we’ll squeeze in another post before they drop the puck in Raleigh tonight. Sorry. My car’s going up on the rack all day (I might sneak off to a local links to kill some time while I wait, especially if it’s really going to be in the 60s and sunny). If I get back in time to give you a blank sheet for your in-game artistry, I will.
If not, enjoy.