If the Rangers don’t go far in the playoffs, I hope the Tampa Bay Lightning do. In a game that meant absolutely nothing to them, they worked hard, and ended the Carolina Hurricanes’ season, thus berthing the Rangers into the playoffs.
It’s nothing new: the New York Rangers do not do things easily, and probably never will. This season, their fate did not come down to the last minute, but the last millisecond, as they eagerly awaited the result of a game between the Lightning and Hurricanes after defeating the New Jersey Devils this afternoon. In the end, the team that deserved to be in made it, despite what I said angrily a few days ago. This new ridiculous tiebreaker the NHL has where regulation and overtime wins decide who makes the playoffs, while completely ignoring shootout wins, is atrocious. Because the Hurricanes would have had more “ROW’s” with a win tonight, the Rangers would have been ousted—penalized for winning a facet of the game that exists, whether or not you agree if it actually should be there anyway.
Last season, the Rangers missed the playoffs because they lost in a shootout. This season, they had the opportunity to miss the playoffs for winning in shootouts. Make sense? Well, let’s just stray away from politics and get to the topic at hand: the New York Rangers are officially a part of the 2010/11 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite being shaky at times, this will be a fantastic chance for such a young team to learn while playing through a so-called rebuilding process. Given the fact that Lundqvist has played a tiresome 26 games in a row, and that this team’s offense is nothing to write home about (wink-wink-nudge-nudge Marian Gaborik), I do not give them much of a chance to go far, though I do think they can defeat the Washington Capitals, their first round opponent. The Rangers fared well against them this season (3-1-0; 18 goals), so hopefully that will carry over into the playoffs.
Now, I did not watch all of the Lightning game tonight, but in checking the score every half hour or so, I could not help but feel that they were playing so hard, perhaps, in thanks to their old friend, ex-coach John Tortorella, who led them to their only Stanley Cup in 2004. Hats off to coach Guy Boucher for taking this meaningless game seriously, and having his guys play hard.
That’s going to be all for now, folks. We will now take the next few days to relax, before the stress will begin once again in the first round of the playoffs!