NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hook a brother up? No? C’mon man.
The Islanders have been on the verge of clinching a playoff berth for some time now, yet haven’t been able to seal the deal. They have two regular season games left and can punch their ticket Friday night by getting one point against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
In the interim, they can also clinch a spot Thursday night with some help from other teams, including the Rangers.
It just doesn’t look like the Blueshirts feel all that inclined to help their long-time rivals out.
The Islanders (98 points) will cement their place in the postseason with a loss of any kind by either Ottawa (95) or Boston (95). The Senators will be at Madison Square Garden, while the Bruins take on the Panthers in Florida on Thursday night.
But having secured the Presidents’ Trophy on Tuesday, the Rangers have earned the right to rest some of their best players in advance of next week’s opening round of the playoffs, which is what it appears they will do against Ottawa.
The Rangers announced they will be without key forwards Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello, and defenseman Marc Staal, though head coach Alain Vigneault insisted they will be getting the night off due to injury, not merely to give them a breather.
Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the Blueshirts, mostly because he still needs more work after missing 25 games earlier this season due to a neck injury.
Nerves are getting frayed a bit on Long Island, thanks to the Islanders’ inexplicable 5-4 loss in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. New York rallied from three goals down in the second half of the third period only to lose when a seemingly harmless long-distance wrist shot by the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn eluded Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak with 2.1 seconds left.
Currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders still have a shot to gain home ice in the first round of the playoffs, but would need to win their final two games and have second-place Washington lose its regular season finale at home against the Rangers.