OK, so perhaps that is overstating it but tonight’s matchup with the Flyers is for all the marbles. Yes, technically they can still get into the playoffs even if they lose tonight, but clearly sewing up the berth with a game to spare avoids that sour air of desperation in Philly.
Don’t try telling that to John Tortorella. He insisted before the game tonight that this game is the same as any other, and the same for the players.
“They’re ready to play,” he said. ”…I consider all games important.”
When he wasn’t being testy—when a reporter walked in late he turned to a PR rep and suggested that the door be barred once his presser starts—he did reveal his lines. Tortorella said he liked the way the offensive lines were Avery, Gomez and Antropov; Naslund, Drury and Callahan; Dubinsky, Korpikoski and Zherdev and Sjostorm, Betts and Orr, and defensively it will be Staal and Girardi, Morris and Mara and Rozsival and Redden.
For a look at how the race stands now, check out nhlplayoffrace.com.