It wasn't exactly what the New York Rangers had in mind, this losing a vital hockey game at home in convincing fashion against a team that's not playoff bound. But that's exactly what happened on Thursday night, and now, those Rangers are in serious peril when it comes to their own playoff lives.
The Rangers' loss puts the No. 9 Carolina Hurricanes in the drivers seat for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Should Carolina win both their remaining games in regulation or overtime, they will clinch the No. 8 seed no matter what New York does in their season finale against New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
Let's talk about this loss, though, because really, the Rangers did it to themselves. It's not as if the Thrashers played a phenomenal shut down hockey game or anything, although they certainly didn't play poorly and Pavelec was pretty fantastic himself. But no, it was clear that the Rangers just didn't come to play, and without Ryan Callahan in the lineup, it's clear something is missing.
Maybe they'll be able to find enough of that something to squeak into the playoffs, but at this point, they're going to nee some help.