With a 4-2 loss to the Flyers, last night became a worst case scenario for the New York Rangers. Not only did they lose, but the Senators, Islanders, and Jets all won with each gaining 2 points in the standings. With only 6 games remaining the Rangers are clinging to the 8th seed in the East, tied with the Jets, by virtue of having 1 game in hand.
A sloppy first period saw the Rangers fall behind 2-0. The slow start coupled with facing Steve Mason, a goalie suddenly turned hot, was all too much for the Rangers to overcome. Zuccarello scored his first of the season early in the second period, and from there the Rangers began to show the sense of urgency needed this time of year.
Typical of this team all season long, the Rangers gave up another quick one making it 3-1 Flyers. The Rangers did mount a little comeback, Peppering Mason from the middle frame on, out-shooting the Flyers 40-22 for the game. Stepan brought the Blue-Shirts closer by notching his 15th of the season, but it was too little too late. The Flyers sealed the deal with an empty net goal making it final, 4-2.
The stage is set, the Rangers need to take care of business over the last 6 games if they want to be playing postseason hockey. If the they are tied with Winnipeg at the end of the season, the Jets hold the tie breaker because of their ROW (regular/overtime wins). They have an ROW of 20, and the Rangers have 17 – very tough ground to make up with so little games remaining. One thing is certain, the Rangers need to take care of business against the (statistically) worst team in the NHL Florida Panthers on Thursday night, or they are going to be in some serious trouble down the home stretch.
I can see the irony now; Olli Jokinen propels the Jets into the playoffs by scoring a shootout goal in the last game of the season.
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