Playoff Watch: Rangers look to add key points
Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:24 pm
WHO CAN CLINCH: The San Jose Sharks can win the Pacific Division with a victory over the Los Angeles Kings tonight. The Kings can secure a playoff spot with a victory.
ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Washington.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Boston Bruins (44-23-11) at New York Rangers (42-32-5), 7:30 p.m. ET (Versus)
The Rangers were kept out of the playoff via a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the season a year ago. The Rangers still have a few games left, but their victory in the same manner in Philly on Sunday was nearly as crucial. Eighth-place New York enters tonight’s action with a two-point edge on the Carolina Hurricanes. Each team has three games remaining on the schedule.
New York is 9-3-1 in their last 13 contests, although it lost back to back games before Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers improved to 28-0 when leading after two periods. The Rangers have won two of the first three meetings between these two clubs.
The Bruins enter with a 5-1-1 mark over their last seven games and they’re fairly healthy, although they will likely be out Shawn Thornton. The Masterton Trophy (NHL’s version of the comeback player of the year) nominee has been out two games since he suffered a cut above his right eye from a skate. The Boston Globe reports he skated with a shield on in practice on Monday.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Los Angeles (45-27-6) at San Jose Sharks (46-23-9), 10 p.m. ET
A victory by the Kings will not only clinch a playoff spot for the back to back seasons for the first time in a decade, but they could also inch closer to their first division crown since 1990-91, when the Smythe Division still existed. The Kings would be three points back of the Sharks with a regulation victory tonight. Los Angeles has won three of the first five meetings.
GOLF WATCH: The Toronto Maple Leafs will be eliminated with a Rangers victory. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images