Scott Gomez 1

Rangers Can Clinch Tonight

So the Rangers can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win against the Islanders (7:00pm – MSG). They could also clinch if the Capitals lose, or if both teams only get a point.

Fourth spot and home ice, now seems unlikely, with the Flyers having to beat the Devils in regulation, and then the Rangers having to get five of their last six points, including a regulation win over the Devils in the season finale. A win tonight, and the Rangers will place somewhere between the 4th and 7th spots. The Hurricanes and Capitals would not be able to catch them, and the Rangers have the season tiebreaker over the Flyers.

The Rangers won’t be coasting in though. A seventh spot would see them face either the Penguins or more likely, the Canadiens…a daunting prospect given the home ice dominance for both teams in recent games. A sixth spot would likely see Carolina, though there’s a chance that Washington could also still take that spot.

Brendan Shanahan will be a game time decision, and there’s an outside chance that Blair Betts will be available. If the Rangers do succeed tonight in securing a playoff spot, there’s a possibility that Scott Gomez and/or Brendan Shanahan will get a break in the last game or two.

The Rangers signed 2007 third round pick Ryan Hillier to a contract yesterday. Hillier is currently playing for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL playoffs, and is getting ready for their second round match-up against the Screaming Eagles. Hillier would have become a free agent on June 1st if he had not been signed.

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