Over/Under… There are more New York fans rooting for a Tampa Bay team tonight, than there were during the 2008 MLB ALCS.
Once again, for the second consecutive season, the Rangers’ playoff hopes have come down to Game 82. Only this time, unlike like last year’s shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers when Olli Jokinen helped flush a New York playoff berth down the toilet, the Rangers don’t have control of the situation.
No, this year, the ever-important Game 82 comes down to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes, who currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference with 91 points, simply have to defeat Tampa Bay to make the Rangers the Eastern Conference bubble boys for the second year in a row.
From Facebook posts, to Tweets, to the “Let’s Go Lightning!” chant at the Garden earlier today, New York fans are in full force hoping for a Tampa victory.
The Rangers, unlike the games they played against the Islanders and Thrashers the past two Thursdays, took care of their end this afternoon against the Devils, crushing their river-rival, 5-2.
So once again, Rangers head coach John Tortorella, Vinny Prospal and Ruslan Fedotenko find themselves in a familiar position: Their attention riveted to every play of Tampa’s game.
The three of those men all know what a Tampa Bay win and a Rangers’ playoff berth can lead to, as they’re all only six-seasons removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup–oddly enough while members of the Lightning in 2004.
So for now, with just moments left before the puck drops at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Rangers are all channeling their inner Jack Johnson (the other Jack Johnson); Sitting, Waiting, Wishing…