Getting an early start on Sunday because I can't sleep.
Since it is after midnight, it is Sunday. So here's Sunday's pregame post written while watching Hockey Night In Canada After Hours, live from the inner bowl of Edmonton's Rexall Place.
Hey, there's the Coke machine that stole my loonie!
-- Well, the Rangers did the Panthers a huge favor on Saturday by losing to Boston. Loved seeing Tim Thomas charge Sean Avery after he ''accidentally'' popped the Bruins goalie in the head as he skated by during a television timeout.
Avery went to the box (and seemed to be pouting as if he shouldn't have been sent there) and the punch less Rangers got shutout.
The Rangers, it should be noted, still control their own destiny and make it to the big dance with wins in their final three no matter what the Panthers do. Florida trails the Rangers by two points but really it's three; the Panthers would lose the first tiebreaker with the Rangers.
If Florida wins its final four games, those eight points equal 95 points. The Rangers could win their final three to get six points and 95 points. Then, the Panthers would be trying to pass Montreal. And that's a whole different pot of Tim Hortons.
So, not worrying about Montreal right now, lets look at what the Panthers need to do to knock out the Rangers.
Best scenario: Florida goes out and wins four straight games for the first time this season, end with 95 points and the Rangers lose one of their final three and only end up with 93/94 points.
Here are some other scenarios for the Florida endangered cats:
Remember, Rangers have three games left and 89 points; Florida has four games left and 87. Florida has to be one point ahead of New York by the end of next Sunday's Rangers-Flyers game from the Spectrum.
-- IF Florida goes 3-0-1 (94 points), Rangers can only go 2-1-0 (93). New York at 2-0-1 knocks out the Panthers.
-- IF Florida goes 3-1-0/2-0-2 (93 points), Rangers can go 1-0-2 (93) and make it. A record of 0-0-3 or 1-2 would not cut it.
-- IF Florida goes 2-2-0 (91 points), good luck. Rangers would have to go 0-2-1 (90) for Florida to beat them out.
-- How about 1-0-3 Mr. Richards? Well that's 92 points. Rangers could go 0-0-3 and make it in. And they would still have one more win to win the tiebreaker. So, Florida could still get in the playoffs with one win in these final four, but they would need three overtime losses and New York to go 0-1-2 or worse.
-- Of course, the Rangers could 0-3-0 in their final stretch and Florida would only need to come up with three points in the final four games. In that scenario, the Sabres are back in play and could leapfrog both teams.
One week left kids. One week left.
-- If Florida were to win its next three and New York lose its next two (with at least one in regulation), the Panthers would beat out the Rangers by Thursday night (but might still have to worry about Buffalo). In that scenario, Florida goes up to 93 points and the best the Rangers could do is 92.
That would mean a Florida win over Pitt, then road wins in Philly and Atlanta. Good luck with that one.
Could the Panthers make it a New York Trifecta?
We won't even get into the Knicks.
-- PS: Yanni is coming. Don't know if you heard. You may, however, have seen it somewhere. Especially if you drive on the Sawgrass. You wouldn't, however, know there might be a hockey game inside that big building.
-- Shameless plug for me: Trying out this Twitter thing. Don't know if I like it, sure don't know exactly what it does.
But follow along if you want; if you don't, I'll simply pull the plug. No problem with me. Also, fixed the link from before...
-- Good night eh...
-- Saturday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Rangers losing was big. Panthers can pull into a tie for eighth with a win today over the Penguins. Florida also liked seeing Buffalo lose since they stay two points back in the race.
-- Sunday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy watching a new episode of The Simpsons as well as a full hour of Family Guy)
Nothing of interest. Enjoy your cartoons fellas.
-- The Standings (presented by the Pittsburgh Pirates – who have been out of the postseason even longer than the Panthers; courtesy, as always, of TSN.ca. If they are wrong, don't blame me.)
|3||x-New Jersey||79||49||26||4||102||237||201||27-11-1||22-15-3||3-6-1||Won 2|
|8||NY Rangers||79||40||30||9||89||201||213||24-11-4||16-19-5||5-4-1||Lost 2|
|14||Tampa Bay||79||24||37||18||66||202||263||12-16-11||12-21-7||1-5-4||Lost 6|
|15||NY Islanders||78||26||43||9||61||196||255||17-16-6||9-27-3||3-6-1||Won 1|
|1||y-San Jose||78||51||16||11||113||249||194||31-4-4||20-12-7||6-3-1||Lost 1|
|9||St. Louis||79||38||31||10||86||224||231||22-13-5||16-18-5||6-2-2||Lost 1|
|14||Los Angeles||77||31||35||11||73||194||224||16-15-8||15-20-3||2-6-2||Lost 3|