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Blueshirts Fall In Staal's Return To Carolina, Apparently Prefer A Wild Card Spot Over Home Ice

You know what? I’m not mad. I’m not upset that, with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot against a team the Rangers had won 19 of their last 20 against, they choked away another lead in the third period. I’m not gonna point out their robotic lack of urgency on the ice or in their post-game interviews. “We were caught watching”, “troubling & disappointing”, “we weren’t prepared to compete”, “this is a game we should win”…been hearing things like this for a while now with no consistent change. Still, I’m all-in silver lining now & that silver lining is that first wild card spot.
These Blueshirts are different than teams in the past. Sure, they can easily end up with the second-best record in the East but that’s more a reflection of the rest of the conference than their own play. A squad as experienced in big games as NY shouldn’t be losing so many leads late in games like they have this year. They continue to play it cool but the truth is they’re fragile. They’re not ready for a first-round series with a Penguins team whose superstars are all playing at a lights-out level. I don’t know if they’re ready for a rivalry series either against the Islanders who have won 4 of 5 and are grinding out ways to snatch that second point by any means necessary. Both of these Metro teams have not only owned the Rangers this regular season but are playing a brand of hockey that won’t mesh well against an opponent that loves leaving the door open.
So I’m gonna spin last night’s loss into AV’s squad being a forward-thinking group. They’re trying to line up a visit to Florida for their opening playoff series. Luongo’s posted back to back 3.00/.900 months. The Panthers have lost one of their key kids in Vincent Trocheck who, along with Jagr, has been their best offensive player over the last quarter of the season. Since their 12-game winning streak, they’re just 17-13-5 and I’ve said all along that the Cats are talented but simply too inexperienced to make a real run this year. That’s not to say it’d be a slam-dunk for the Blueshirts but it’s certainly the best matchup for them. With a 2-point lead & 5 games left against non-playoff teams, the Atlantic is for the Panthers’ taking. So let’s go Jagr. Lock it up & let’s fill the BB&T Center with transplanted Rangers fans after NY inevitably backs into the top wild card slot.
As planned, of course.