Ah it's April, the NHL season is winding down and the snow is falling on the ground in Massachusetts. Wait, what? Snow? Oh yeah. On April 1, the Boston area got about 5-6 inches of snow. Nothing crazy, but also nothing anyone wanted (except maybe the crazies). The good news, the weekend was "warm" and most of the snow melted. The other good news? Michael Ryder was actually useful for once and helped lock up the Northeast Division for the Bruins, ensuring the team does no worse than third place in the Eastern Conference.
Tonight, the Bruins face a desperate New York Rangers team that sits in eighth with 89 points and has Carolina in their rear-view mirror with 87 points. In fact, seeds 6-9 are still up for grabs. Montreal has 91 points, Buffalo has 90, New York has 89 and Carolina has 87. The Bruins are 5-2 in their last seven games with quality wins over Philadelphia, Chicago and Montreal. The two losses? A 1-0 loss to New York and a 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs. The first loss (being the Rangers) is more important than the loss to Toronto because there is a possibility that Boston will see New York in the first round.
I'll be honest, seeing the Rangers in the first round scares the shit out of me. Why? One man: Henrik Lundqvist.
Boston has the hardest time trying to solve Lundqvist. In three games this season, Henrik is 2-1 with a 1.66 GAA, a save percentage of .931 and a shutout. Wow. I guess there's a reason the New York "faithful" call him King Henrik. The guy is a stud and should be in the Vezina talk, but we all know Thomas is going to win it.
Speaking of Thomas, who gets the start tonight? With four gamers left how should the goaltending situation be handled? Should Thomas play three out of the four? Should Tuukka play three out of the four so Timmy gets rest? Should the Bruins split the four games between the two goaltenders? It's an interesting debate that can be made. Personally, I'd like the see the Bruins split the last four games evenly, giving both goalies two games and ample time to rest for Thomas. I would start Thomas in New York and then again in New Jersey, to shake the rust off after a five day rest. Let Tuukka play against the Islanders and Senators and (hopefully) finish the season off on a high note.
After the jump, we look at our roster projections and links...
Game Day Roster (Prediction):
Scratches: Thornton (eye), Kampfer (healthy scratch), Destroychuk (healthy/rest scratch)
UPDATE: Thornton, Hnidy, Kampfer, Ryder and Rask were on the ice for the optional skate. They're probably you're scratches.
- Matt Kalman talks about Danny Paille finally earning a spot on the roster
- Mark Marino of The Hub of Hockey looks at Ryder breaking his slump at the perfect time
- Jesse Connolly posts an interview from Claude Julien discussing Henrik Lundqvist
TIME TO GO!