Puck Drop: 7PM TSN
The Leafs played a completely lifeless game against a career backup last night. Tonight they'll face a very good goaltender motivated by two good reasons.
In his last game against the Leafs Henrik Lundqvist let in a terrible goal by Tomas Kaberle to force OT where Kulemin scored to seal the deal. Lundqvist described his performance as "fucking terrible" adding that he cost his team a point in a tight playoff race.
The Rangers sit in 9th place, three points behind Boston with three games left to play. Realistically the Rangers have to know that if they can't go 3-0-0 it's unlikely they'll see the postseason despite the offseason addition of Marian Gaborik's 41 goals.
Lundqvist knows he'll be expected to be a big part of the Rangers' next three games. He's going to try and steal two points from the Leafs tonight to make up for the 27th. Let's hope it doesn't work.
Jonas Gustavsson will get his final start of the season across from a goalie all of us hope he'll become. His early season struggles gave way to a sparkling stretch of play after the Olympic break that carried the youngest team in the NHL almost all the way back to catch the pack they had fallen from.
Watching these last games is weird as a Leafs fan. The season has played out and once again we've been left disappointed with the results. Next Tuesday night at 8 o'clock we'll hope a team below us wins the draft lottery; probably the only thing that drags us out of drafting second at this point. NHL Central Scouting has picked Seguin over Hall as #1 but has said they're essentially interchangeable.
Let's just hope that at this time next year our game previews aren't worried about when the draft lottery is. In the meantime let's hope we can spoil someone else's season.
I'll be in the second row behind Gustavsson's net tonight, look for me in my white Schenn jersey being pummeled by Yankees fans.