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Let’s try this again: Rangers can clinch tonight in Carolina

Apr 25, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins Getty Images

“These are the hardest games to lose,” said Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello after his team dropped a 3-2 decision Tuesday to the NHL’s worst club, the Florida Panthers.

If the Rangers had won — and to their credit, they outshot the Panthers, 38-16 — they’d have clinched a playoff spot.

Tonight in Carolina, they get another chance to clinch against a non-playoff team, the Hurricanes.

A win and the Rangers qualify.

A regulation Winnipeg loss to Montreal would also see the Blueshirts into the postseason, but the Rangers also have playoff positioning to play for. There’s still an outside chance they could finish as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference; however, No. 6, 7, or 8 is more likely.

In the unlikely event the Rangers don’t qualify for the playoffs, well, let’s re-visit that scenario if it’s still a possibility after tonight. But suffice to say the future of head coach John Tortorella would be among the first topics up for discussion.

Bottom line: the Rangers have played well down the stretch. They’re 8-3-1 in April and should make for a tough opponent in the first round of the playoffs.

  1. bleedbluebaby - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Rangers had a little hiccup in their hunt for the playoffs, but the ship will be righted tonight. I wish Marc Staal was back, but it’s probably for the best because the main focus on hand is 2 points!

    • blackfoot11 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Better hope it was a “Hiccup”, as I am sure you don’t want your Rangers to face the Devils in Jersey to clinch a playoff spot. Best of luck.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      their whole season has been a bad case of the hiccups.

  2. philly4lyfe - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    lets go canes!

  3. tfaltin - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    First goal wins…Carolina would get the confidence to play a complete game the Rangers can really only play from ahead.

  4. islesjb - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    If the Ranger’s can’t clinch against an abysmal Panthers team, they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. They will, but they don’t deserve it. This, coming from an unbiased Islander fan who loves seeing the Rangers fail

    • biffnasty - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Please islesbj..the little islanders have lost to the canes numerous times this year and they are in the bottom 3 of the east. The Rangers will clinch, dont worry. Then you can watch the Rangers go deep as the lil isles play golf after their upcoming 1st round exit

    • barkar942 - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      They had tons of “puck luck” as Torts called it in Buffalo. In Florida, they hit 3 posts and a crossbar. Give Florida credit, they played a dull 5 men back game to protect the lead.
      Also agree with Tort’s analysis, one play of not clearing the puck on the power play cost them the game.
      I personally am hoping that the Jets make it in, but at the expense of Ottawa.
      And I am a Rangers fan, islesjb, and I am glad to see your team in. They have played well and deserve to be there.

      • islesjb - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        That makes sense given how badly they outshot the Panthers. Mainly just trying to rile up some DB’s like biffnasty. I have no doubts that the Rangers will make it. Glad the Isles-Rangers rivalry is finally heating up again. Should be heated for years to come.

        And biffnasty- Isles earned that playoff spot and are poised to go deep- especially if they play the Habs or the Capitals in round 1. Not saying either of those teams are pushovers, but the Isles match up much better against them than they do the Penguins or the Bruins.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        ottawa can easily lose the next 3 games against caps, flyers, bruins in the next 4 days. especially if bruins are still competing for the 2 spot in that final game. ottawa looked pathetic against the penguins’ backups the other night. jets win tonight and could sit back and hope for ottawa to implode…which isnt too far flung of a reality at all – karlsson or not.

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        @Isles..The Isles have their eyes set on the 5th seed the way they are playing. The ‘Leafs have not looked to great over the past few weeks and could be sitting in the 6th spot at the end of tonight.

      • adge84 - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        I am happy to see the Islanders revival as well, despite being a die hard ranger fan. It was one of the great sports rivalries for a while and I was upset to see it dissipate. My extreme hate for the team from strong island never wavered and I can’t wait to watch it pick up steam again. Hockey needs it, New York needs it, and now we are finally getting it back. Hopefully we somehow (very doubtful) meet in this years playoffs and a little bit of that nastiness that only a 7 game series can invoke comes back. Should be a fun post season.

      • biffnasty - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        No need for that @islesBJ…I’m confident the Rangers will clinch with a Win unlike the little isles who backed in with a loss against the lowly canes.

  5. cruuuzcontrol - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    The Rangers have a bad power play. They struggle against teams with good power plays as a result. Does that mean they suck or they don’t deserve to make the playoffs? No. It just means they’re not great. And the lack of a good PP is what keeps them from being elite and has held them back all season. As a Ranger fan, I fear no other team… I only fear our power play’s inability to consistently generate quality chances.

  6. prosportswashington - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    There is no excuse for them to underperform this badly, considering the ridiculous amount of talent and toughness they have

    • jpelle82 - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      i blame torterella. if they miss playoffs or if they dont show up to play in the first round he should get fired. they have a better roster than last year with nash and they were buying and selling at the deadline to make a push – there’s no other explanation than coaching in my opinion.

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