The New York Rangers could face complete elimination in game No. 82. With the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night (6-1), they only have one win to seal the eighth berth in the playoffs.
All New York is asking for today is one point in overtime or the shootout, and a Carolina loss in its last game of the season
Carolina slid into eighth place after its win over Atlanta last night. All they have to do now is sit back and watch the results of the Rangers-Devils match today to determine how important a win in their game 82 will be.
The Devils, on the other hand, are not worried about the Rangers or how they could deliver a New York upset in today’s matchup. Not everyone is concerned that if the Rangers are knocked out today it will be the first time in 45 years that a New York area team did not make the NHL playoffs. The Rangers concerns are not the same concerns as the Devils.
The Devils are in it to win it. The points don’t mean anything to them, because they are not in the playoffs. Keeping a New York area team in the playoffs doesn’t mean anything to them, because they’re not that New York area team.
The only thing the Devils care about right now is winning. They want to finish off the season winning their last remaining games. It’s a matter of pride. They’re not only doing this for themselves, they’re doing this for the fans.
If winning means delivering an upset, then so be it. That’s not the reason why they want to win. They want to win because they are the Devils.
Most would think that the rivalry against the Rangers and causing an upset would be important to the Devils as they enter into today’s match. According to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk, that is not their main concern.
“For us, we’re going to play to try to win,” Brodeur said. “It’s not going to change much making the playoffs. We’re definitely going to play well and play hard. That’s what we’re paid for. It’s tough for us, but it’s definitely nice to have an opportunity to play in a game that counts.
“For us, we might as well match it. It will be a fun game. But at the end of the day, whether they’re in it or not, it doesn’t really change much for us.”
Even if the upset causes the first historical absence of a New York area team in the playoffs since 1966 (and the first time since the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils first entered the market), that is still of no concern.
“Oh yeah?” Brodeur commented after learning this upset would be the first in 45 years for New York. “That won’t change the way we’re going to play.”
“It’s always a big rivalry,” Kovalchuk said of the Rangers’ last game. “[There's] a couple of games left for us and we just want to play our best. We’ve got a chance to finish this season on a good note.”
“Who cares?” he said about the possible upset. “We don’t think about it. We just have to think about ourselves and play the best that we can.”