Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rangers Season Comes Down To Game 82 Again, Will It End Differently This Time?

The New York Rangers season is coming down to Game 82 to determine whether the team will make the playoffs or have the season come up just short.  No, that is not a review of what happened last year, but what the situation is for the second straight season as the Rangers take to the ice today against the rival Devils needing a win to have a chance to make the playoffs.  The difference this time is that the Rangers don’t control their own destiny as a win for New York alone is not enough to put them into the postseason.  Along with their own win they need help from the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Lightning have no real motivation seeing as how they are locked into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The only way the season will be decided during the afternoon hours is if the Rangers lose in regulation.  A win in for New York would mean that they need Carolina to lose in either regulation or overtime.  A shootout loss for New York would require a Carolina regulation loss for the Rangers season to continue.  

If they truly do remember the heartbreak of last year in Philadelphia, then expect a tremendous effort to ensure they do what they can to avoid it again.  The team might have relinquished the control of the situation overall, but they can still control what they do on the ice tomorrow.  These are the kinds of games where you truly find out about the character of your team as a whole and the individuals wearing their sweaters.  The final score is what ultimately matters, but who will rise to the occasion and who will shrink into the background is just as intriguing a watch as the game goes on.  The Rangers young players have done their part all season long in helping put the team in this position and now, in Game 82, it is time for the veterans to lead the way and force Carolina to have to do something Saturday night.

The time for talk is over and now the Rangers must either answer the call or sit home and watch until they come back in the fall.