A Pens win clinches top 3, 1 point clinches top wildcard for Rangers

The Rangers take on the Penguins at the World’s Most Renovated Famous Arena tonight. It’s a match that doesn’t have much significance. The first of two against Pittsburgh at MSG with a rematch in the final regular season game on Sunday, April 9.

Both teams can clinch something. A Pens win guarantees either a 2nd or 3rd place finish in the Metro. One point for the Rangers and they are a lock for the top wildcard with a potential crossover first round against Montreal. The Rangers can still catch the Pens but it would become virtually impossible if they don’t win in regulation.

I know how this might sound. But I’d prefer to play Columbus. They are still young and inexperienced. Plus those games have been competitive. The Blue Jackets took the season series 3-2. Unfortunately, that’s a long shot.

The Pens are the walking wounded with Malkin, Letang and a host of others still out. They do get Jake Guentzel and Ron Hainsey back. Matt Murray starts against Henrik Lundqvist, who hopes to be better than his first two starts in which he allowed 10 goals in losses to the Ducks and Sharks. Not that it was all his fault.

The Rangers are resting captain Ryan McDonagh. The D looks like this. Don’t cry. It’s only a meaningless game:

Holden-Girardi 😛

Staal-Klein 😮

Skjei-Smith 😉

Because obviously, it hasn’t dawned on our coach that Skjei and Smith should be higher on the depth chart. Even better (well ya), J.T. Miller stays on the fourth line at least to start while Grabner and Fast remain with Kevin Hayes. Umm. Puempel is in over Vesey, who is benched following a bad game. At least the Vesey bashers are happy. Buchnevich is with Zibanejad and Nash. Stepan stays with Zucc and Kreider.

They have started already. So, I’ll get off now. Post forthcoming later on what should be a mess of a game. Especially vs Crosby.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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