It took only a few minutes for Thursday’s Flyers – Rangers matchup to reach epic status.
After defeating the Canadiens, 3-1, and gaining a crucial two-point buffer between them and the Florida Panthers for the eighth spot in the playoffs on Tuesday, the Rangers took no time at all to look ahead to Thursday’s contest against the visiting Flyers. If the Rangers win, they clinch a playoff spot. However, if they lose, all bets are off, having just one game left to play, also against Philly.
“Thursday is a huge game against Philadelphia,” said Rangers’ defenseman Paul Mara. “We control our own destiny and if we win we’re in. Thursday is a huge game for us. We’re going to go into that game confident knowing we’re going to win.”
Despite being in the playoff hunt, New York has struggled, losing its last three of five. But a huge win over banged up Montreal, has the Rangers surging with confidence and ready to face the Orange and Black.
“We are going to go for it Thursday. It is a big game again,” said Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist, in published reports. “We have a great opportunity to play great now and go into the playoffs feeling really good. If we take care of business and do our job here on Thursday that (will be) the case. Rest tonight, have a good practice tomorrow and then get ready for a big battle. Playing Philly here is going to be great, a good atmosphere.”
The Rangers’ final two games of the season are against the Flyers, who will look to knock their hated Atlantic Division rival out of the playoffs. Philadelphia stands precariously in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes, but has three game remaining — at the Rangers, at the Islanders then Rangers again at home.
But if having the ability to single-handedly knock your rival out of the postseason doesn’t spice up the final two out of three games of the season for the Flyers, the season series is also locked at two, with no clear cut alpha, making it a very interesting and unpredictable Easter weekend.