NEW YORK - MARCH 14: Michal Rozsival #33 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: Michal Rozsival #33 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

It Doesn’t Get Easier

Two days after having put their playoff destiny in the hands of other teams, the Rangers find themselves back in control. Florida’s 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers means New York can clinch a playoff spot if they get seven points out of the last possible eight.

Regardless of the mathematics, the Rangers still have their work cut out for them, beginning today in Boston (1:00pm – MSG2) with a match-up against the in-form Bruins – a playoff preview?. Boston is 7-2-1 in their last ten, have won five straight and are 6-0-1 in their last seven at home. They also just re-upped goaltender Tim Thomas – who didn’t start the last time the two teams met.

It’s a tough road, and the Rangers can’t afford to look at anyone else except themselves – but that doesn’t stop us looking. If the Rangers do win today, then they’ll be looking for the Leafs to bounce back from last night’s 8-5 loss and give Montreal some problems, for the Flyers to lose to Ottawa and for Carolina and Pittsburgh to simply implode.

If they do fall out of the playoffs, it’ll be a rare occurrence, just the fifth time in Franchise history according to the NY Post.

It appears that Michal Rozsival will be back in the line-up tonight, with Corey Potter having been sent back down to Hartford after a solid two game call-up. Potter scored his first NHL goal in Thursday’s loss, but was and even +/- in the two games he played.

We’ve got an obligatory Staal brother story from the News & Observer following the Thursday clash between Marc Staal and Eric Staal, followed up by today’s match between Eric and Jordan Staal of the Penguins. As for the Rangers’ Staal, Tortorella expects big things.

And while we’re on the topic of obligatory stories…here’s another one about Sean Avery.

Pack win 6-0 over Bruins, Cowick sent home
The Wolf Pack put together an emphatic 6-0 win over the 2nd placed Bruins last night, blowing out the second placed Bruins with four goals in the third period. Three of the six goals came shorthanded, with Brodie Dupont getting the game started just under five minutes in, and Michel Ouellette adding two more shorthanders as he and Artem Anisimov paced the Pack with a brace of goals each.

Vladimir Denisov added a sixth goal – his fifth goal of the season – and Matt Zaba stopped all 24 shots he faced. The Pack now need just five more points to ensure a #1 seed in the Atlantic.

Corey Cowick’s hopes of joining the Wolf Pack were shot down yesterday following a physical. The draft eligible Cowick had signed an ATO with the Pack to play in last night’s game against Providence, but was told that his shoulder required rest and wouldn’t allow him to play.

Cowick has returned to Ottawa and will wait and see if a team takes a shot on him in the June draft. If he remains undrafted, then teams will be free to sign him to a Pro contract.

Checkers wrap up regular season tonight
The Checkers wrap up their regular season with a visit from the Gwinnett Gladiators tonight. The game has no bearing on the standings for Charlotte, though Gwinnett needs at least a point (or a loss by Mississippi) to secure a playoff spot. The Checkers will open up their post season against South Carolina next week.

OHL Playoffs
Evgeny Grachev had a goal and an assist in Game 1 of their second round match-up with Mississauga. Grachev earned the second star in the 3-0 win, but was held without a point in last night’s 2-1 Game 2 victory. The series now shifts to Mississauga where the Battalion will play two games and have a chance to sweep their opponents.

Michael Del Zotto is getting some pretty good reviews after picking up 8 assists through round one, and the 7-3 Game 1 victory over Saginaw in the second round. Del Zotto was a +3 in the game (+5 so far this post season – tied for 18th in the playoffs), and is seventh in the league for assists.

WHL Playoffs
Tysen Dowzak and the Kelowna Rockets dropped Game 1 of their second round series to Tri Cities. Dowzak was a +1 in the game, but saw the Americans score three times in the third – including the game winner at 18:07 – as Kelowna fell 4-3. Tomas Kundratek and the Tigers get their second round under way tonight.

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