NEW YORK RANGERS:
Welcome to the Realm of MUST WIN GAMES.
I'll wait while you go find that old 45' and play the theme from M*A*S*H; "Suicide is Painless" on that old record player you still have in the garage or basement. I'll wait.
DO IT I SAID!
The casualties keep pouring in from the front. We lose Marian Gaborik again and then Marc Staal gets mugged by his own brother knocking him out of action. Ruslan Fedotenko came back and before he could work up a sweat *bink* he was gone again. And now, we lost our back-up goalie; Marty Biron for the rest of the season due to an injury sustained in practice. Chalk one up for the Allen Iverson School of Thought. Practice? Practice.....Practice.
But the worst loss of all?
Answer: The games we keep losing on home ice. Ponderous. At this point, we'd welcome every game left on the schedule be played on the road if it means we'll make the playoffs.
The game against Buffalo was far more detrimental to our success than the loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was. But it's all mute now. We lost both. Now the Buffalo Sabres are only behind us by three points and gaining fast. I expressed in my last post, I thought the onus was on us to keep the teams below us, down. We failed to do that against the Sabres. The Carolina Hurricane defeated the Florida Panthers and are only one point behind us now as they tallied their sixty-ninth point after Tuesday night's action. Toronto with 63 points, did not play Tuesday.
There they are; there are your two teams; Carolina and Buffalo sporting their prime numbers 1 and 3. There-in lies our uncompromising situation. The next swing of the pendulum starts to slice through rope folks. You know what's under the rope don't you? This is starting to play out like those two-part Batman episodes on TV way back when.... Holy Hockey Blades! ...How are the feisty Rangers going to get out of this one? Tune in etc etc...
But they've trained us to do just that; stay tuned. Regardless of the never-ending series of injuries sustained by this team, they keep fighting-on and somehow have stayed in the mix in spite of the frequent visitors to the M*A*S*H tent. But we are fading. ...faster.
The Rangers have now entered the realm of Must WIN Games.
Three of the next four games will be at home were we've been mediocre at best. Thursday we host the Wild who are on-par with us point-wise; if not a pair of points better. And yes, that game just became critical. We must win now and take another two points from the Senators in Ottawa the very next night. Why so critical? We have yet another Sunday Kids Day Matinee game against Philadelphia at MSG.
It's imperative we get four points before facing Philly. It's that simple. Because we don't play well at home. We don't play well against Philly. We don't play well on Sunday Kid Days! That's why. So the last thing we need is to let Minnesota go WILD on us. We need to meet short-term objectives. Playing six quality quarters of Hockey should do us well against Minnesota and Ottawa. But we can't slip now and especially to the Senators. A loss to them would be demoralizing and ruinous.
There's 17 games left. There's us and them; One and Three points. Lace em up tightly Boys and crack open a can of Don't Quit before you hit the ice.
Go get those four points!
Let's Go Rangers!