A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Playoffs

New York – If the Rangers make the playoffs, they will look back on this game and laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In fact, Game 81 of the season was a Shakespearian tragedy, with the main character dying at the end was the Blueshirts season.

“We only lost control, that’s all,” downplayed John Tortorella, but assessed his team’s play by this statement, “We laid an egg.”

Yet, understand this, that control was what was keeping the Rangers alive, as the Hurricanes and Sabres were seeing the Rangers wins and raising them with their own.

Now the Blueshirts blinked after the 3-0 loss to the 25th ranked Atlanta Thrashers and will need the Hurricanes to lose one of their final two games if they are to make the big dance this season.

“We lost the driver’s seat,” defenseman Dan Girardi said. “Now we have to watch what happens around the league and, hopefully, get some help.”

“We didn’t make enough plays,” forward Brian Boyle said. “We had some chances where we were close. Close isn’t good enough, especially this time of year.”

Of course the Rangers could not help themselves last night as the club came out flat against Atlanta. Although things looked ok in the first 10 minutes of the game, the switch was turned off by the second and third periods and Atlanta was able to capitalize on the Blueshirts’ lethargy and indifference.

Although it would be easy to blame Henrik Lundqvist for the fiasco, the fault lies not with the star, but the whole team in this case.

In fact after the third goal, where Marian Gaborik was beat badly by Eric Boulton and Tortorella sat him the rest of the game.

“I’m not going to discuss specifics with a player,” Tortorella said, delivering his classic line.

Yet, Gaborik’s absence is telling as nothing went right on the penultimate game of the year. The Blurshirts will need to fix things against the Devils and hope for some help if they are to play after this week.

“We felt this coming for the past three weeks,” Tortorella said. “ We have been on a pretty good run but Carolina keeps on winning, Buffalo keeps on winning.  It doesn’t surprise me at all that it takes 82.  We will be ready to play game 82.”

If they don’t then the egg they laid will hatch on Saturday night with golf times for the club.

Notes: The Hurricanes and Sabres both have two games left. Carolina takes on the Thrashers tonight and Lightning tomorrow and Buffalo hosts the Flyers and play in Columbus…Buffalo needs one point to make the playoffs, Carolina will need to win both games if the Rangers beat the Devils…If they don’t make the playoffs, it will mark the first time since 1966, the New York Area is shut out of the playoffs…Before the game, the Rangers announced Brandon Prust won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, while Ryan Callahan, who won that award the last two years, took home the Player’s Player award and the New York Chapter of the PHWA’s Good Guy Award for cooperation with the media.





About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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