Tuesday Night a Must-Win

First off, I want to apologize to Pucks readers for my lack of consistent posting lately. Now that the baseball season under way, things at my internship are extremely busy. I've also begun taking an online class to fulfill a requirement toward graduation in May, so needless to say I'm not able to post as much as I'd like to right now.

On to the Rangers.

After a convincing victory over the Devils last week, the Rangers followed their impressive performance with back to back losses and fell to 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The Panthers have the same amount of points, but if the season ended today the Rangers would sneak in over them.

The term "must-win" is not one that I like to use on a regular basis. When used by broadcasters, anchors, analysts, and columnists, it's often in a context that is far too dramatic for the scenario in question.

However, I won't hesitate to use the terminology this time around. Tomorrow night's game against the Canadiens at MSG is a MUST-WIN.

The Rangers are clinging on to their playoff lives right now, and a home game against the team that leap-frogged them in the standings this week, and has a game in hand, can only be considered as such.

Yes; a loss tomorrow will keep the Rangers mathematically alive, and may not even bump them out of 8th. But, from a fan's point of view, it would be yet another devastating blow to their confidence in this team, which has been wavering for months now.

Beating the Canadiens on Tuesday will rely heavily on two aspects of the Ranger's game; special teams, and capitalizing on scoring opportunities. The Rangers take plenty of shots nowadays, but finding them in the back of the net has been a struggle as of late. If they can get the power play going for once, this could change drastically. The two go hand-in-hand.

If the Blueshirts find themselves saluting the crowd at center ice tomorrow night, it will act as a re-energizing shot of B-12 for them and the fans. The team could use a win of that magnitude to solidy their spot in the post season, finish the season strong, and carry momentum into the playoffs.

This would have been the hope after last week's drubbing of the Devils, but with the season now more "on-the-line" then ever, you can expect the Rangers to dial up their intensity to the highest level.

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