You know what’s at stake. If the Rangers win or get a Bettman Bonus Point for losing, or if they even get to OT, they clinch the first seed in the Prince of Wales conference and the Patrick Division title.
Or they clinch if Pittsburgh fails to get two points in Boston, no matter what happens in Philly’s Arena That Changes Names Every Five Minutes or Citizen’s Bank Park or wherever this game is tonight. The Penguins-Bruins game starts at 7:30 p.m., features two backup goalies, and has no significance for Boston.
Other games of interest tonight, in terms of potential first-round opponents (assuming the Rangers do eventually tie up the first seed): Toronto at Buffalo, Carolina at Ottawa, Winnipeg at Florida.
Henrik Lundqvist starts his 10th straight in goal, against returning Ilya Bryzgalov (chipped bone in his foot). The Rangers go with the same lineup, which means John Scott is prucha’d … which makes sense since Tom Sestito Tostitos has been out injured for the Flys … though Jody Shelley is expected to play for the first time since March 18. The Flys are also without Daniel Briere, who was hurt (upper back) on the Dick Vitale hit that started the rumble on Sunday. D Nick Grossmann was also injured in that game.
Whichever way tonight goes, we’ll talk about it tomorrow with a Live Chat at noon. I am attempting to get some shrinks to join me in case people need to be talked off ledges. But I am presuming that we’ll instead be talking about the clinching, the events of the night, and the potential playoff matchups going forward. So join us. Or else.