The Rangers close out the regular season this afternoon when they faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers (3:00 p.m.) at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 38-33-10 (86 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having defeated the Flyers, 4-3, Friday at MSG, to improve to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. The Flyers enter the contest with a 40-35-6 (86 pts.) record to rank eighth in the Eastern Conference. The winner of today’s contest is in the playoffs; the loser is out. At this point in the season, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Game Notes
A trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs is on the line for both of these clubs. Philadelphia had a chance to make this game meaningless on Friday. If they had beaten the Rangers then, they would have clinched a playoff berth and eliminated the Rangers. But, a 4-3 Rangers victory to improve them to 7-1-1 (!) in their last nine sets the table for the biggest game of the NHL’s entire regular season. The Flyers can finish seventh with a win or ninth with a loss. The Rangers get eighth place if they win, and if they lose…well, you know.

Without a doubt, all of the pressure is on the Flyers this afternoon. They’re stuck in a tailspin, going 3-7-1 in their past eleven games. A loss for Philadelphia, on home ice no less, would put them below 8th place for the first time in months – on the last day of the season. They have everything to lose. According to the press, the Rangers already lost everything weeks ago; they’ve been out of it for a month.

But they’re not out. One more win to shock the world.

Quotes of the Day
“The Flyers are the ones looking over their shoulders,” Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky said. “Hopefully, with the pressure on them really for the first time, they won’t know how to handle it. We sure know how. Maybe that will give us an advantage.”

“Two weeks ago, three weeks ago, I think everybody didn’t believe in us,” Marian Gaborik said, “but here we are with one game left. Our destiny is in our own hands.”

81 games – hot start; not scoring enough; ice cold streaks; frustration; a lack of toughness; not playing defense; terrific goaltending; a team playing like it has more than a few chips on its shoulder; believing – has led to this. Let’s Go Rangers

Rangers 2, Flyers 1

Shot Calling – Gaborik.

Photo Credit: Bill Wippert/NHLI/Getty Images