This is really the homestretch, but if your interest is in the Leastern Conference, you have to wait for tomorrow. Tonight there are only two Bestern Conference games—one of them should be pretty good—Chicago-Detroit.
Then tomorrow the fun begins. Your boys are off, but a good scoreboard-watching night:
Buffalo-Toronto (great rivalry anyway), Philly-Pitt (for first in the Patrick Division and possibly in the East overall), Carolina-Washington, Atlanta-Montreal.
The Magic Number (8 … any combination of points gained by the Rangers or not gained by the Hurricanes clinches a sport for the Blueshirts) is in play, of course. So is the whole 7-8 race, and 6-7 race. And the 1-2 race. Buffalo and Carolina play their game-in-hand.
The next night, Wednesday, the Rangers play a really big game in the race, at Buffalo. A win there would be enormous, for obvious reasons. A loss would be enormous, for obvious reasons. At the same time, Montreal is playing Carolina.
Then your heroes (and me) go to Nassau Coliseum Thursday, and better yet, to the arena that changes names every five minutes in Philadelphia Sunday. The Rangers close with three in a row at home.
By the way, this reminds me of when I was on the beat. Reporters have to write early stories, called bulldogs, for the early editions of the paper. You never wanted to use your good stuff for those stories, because they wouldn’t be in very many editions, and they’d be replaced with game stories. So a lot of times, you’d “write the schedule” for your bulldog story. John Dellapina and I would always say, “when in doubt, write the schedule.”
I’m writing the schedule today. But today, and this week, it really is all about the schedule. That’s no bull(dog).