Kovalchuk Celebrates Goal against New York Rangers
Something funny happened to the New Jersey Devils on the way to their longest off-season in 15 years, they have a chance to take the New York Rangers with them. Thanks in part to a good old-fashioned butt whooping by the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night The Rangers are now faced with a real possibility of missing the playoffs.
These things can get a bit complicated at this time of the year, so let me explain…
New York is holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Rangers have a slim two point advantage over the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes. The first NHL tie-breaker is non-shootout wins, both the Rangers and Carolina have 34 apiece. The Hurricanes own the second tie-breaker because they won the season series.
Unfortunately, the Rangers have just one game remaining to Carolinas’ two. If the ‘Canes win those to games they will leap frog the Rangers into eighth. If they end tied in points the Hurricanes earn the berth because they own they tie-breaker.
Do you follow me?
However, If the Rangers can beat the Devils on Saturday and the seventh-place Buffalo Sabres lose their final two games in regulation, then New York is in. Now comes the part where New Jersey can put the proverbial nail in the Rangers coffin. If the Devils beat the Rangers on Saturday it will all but guaranty they’ll miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season by losing their last game of the season.
Last year, New York was eliminated in game number 82 by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers. Needing a victory in their final game to reach the playoffs, New York lost 2-1 to the Flyers in a shoot-out.
Could the Devils help history repeat itself?
You can bet their going to try. It’s not very often that New Jersey has a chance to play spoiler but nothing would taste sweeter than knocking their hated Hudson River rivals out of playoff contention. Having been on the other side by losing three of four playoffs series against the Rangers, goaltender Martin Brodeur would love nothing more than to deliver the final knock-out blow;
“For us, it would be nice to have something to play for a little bit,” Brodeur said. “For us, it doesn’t do much, but I think for our fans (it does). I know a lot of my friends that are big Devils’ fans are always hoping about this match-up means something.”
For the Rangers and their fans it would mean another last minute ouster at the hands of a despised Tri-State rival. That in itself would be a tough pill to swallow. But for the Devils specifically to do it would be more painful then death itself.
But for the Devils and their fans it would be just what the doctor ordered to cure a season full of ailments and pain.
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As Spoilers, The Devils Are In A New York State of Mind
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