There are two games on the NHL schedule on Monday night, and both of them will have a rather large impact on the 2011 playoff picture. The Bruins travel to New York to take on the Rangers at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Versus.
Boston doesn't have too much to play for at this point. They've already clinched the Northeast Division over the Montreal Canadiens, thus guaranteeing themselves a top-3 seed in the East. There's an outside chance that they could pass Philadelphia or Washington for the 2-seed or even the 1-seed in the Conference, but a win on Monday night would only pull them within two points with three games left. It's possible, but they would need some help.
For New York, meanwhile, the game looms much larger. Should they fail to get a point, that will put Carolina in a position to pass them on Wednesday when they face the Red Wings. In that scenario, the teams would be tied through 80 games, but the Hurricanes would hold the tiebreaker -- even if Carolina wins in a shootout, by virtue of holding the edge in the season series.
It's vital, then, that the Rangers earn at least a point against the Bruins tonight. A win would obviously be even better for their hopes. With two points, the Rangers will hop over the Sabres for the 7-seed, but Buffalo will still hold a game-in-hand.
In the late game, San Jose will take on Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m., also on Versus.