The Rangers close out their regular season home schedule tonight when they faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the first game of a home-and-home set. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 37-33-10 (84 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-1, Wednesday at MSG, to improve to 6-1-1 in their last eight games. The Flyers enter the contest with a 40-34-6 (86 pts.) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will conclude their home-and-home set vs. Philadelphia on Sunday, Apr. 11, at the Wachovia Center (3:00 p.m.) in Philly in the final game of their regular season schedule.

Game Notes
Tonight begins the Rangers do-or-die set with Philadelphia. With a Rangers loss, their season would be over and the final playoff spot in the East would be up for grabs between Boston and Philadelphia. A Rangers win would set up a winner-take-all showdown Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Just about everything is riding on this game for both teams. The Flyers have just three wins in their last 10 games. Brian Boucher has been shaky since taking over as goaltender, but he’s allowed just four goals in his last three starts, the last two victories.

As for the Rangers, they control their destiny. It’s that easy. They don’t need to rely on anyone else. Two regulation wins, and they will return to the playoffs for the fifth straight season. A loss to the Flyers, though could be devastating and end their season. No matter what, it’s in the Rangers’ hands. They have played extremely well since what looked to be a season-crushing loss in Boston two weeks ago. They’ve ripped off a 6-1-1 streak that has them right where they need to be.

“You don’t have to look at the board anymore,” coach John Tortorella said, “because it’s right in front of us.”

Injury Report
Forward Sean Avery (knee) is done for the regular season, and forward Brian Boyle (ankle) is healthy, but unlikely to get back into the lineup tonight.

Quote of the Day
“It’s fun to be here…we never gave up and we’re back in the race. The whole season comes down to the last two games.” – Henrik Lundqvist.

It all comes down to this. For now, the Rangers have 60 minutes for the rest of their lives. It’s up to them how they spend it.

Philly has no chance tonight. Rangers win 4-2

Shot Calling – Gaborik with two goals.

Photo Credit: Bill Wippert/NHL Images/Getty Images