by Patrick Hoffman on 04/02/12 at 11:02 AM ET
With a chance to clinch first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference last night at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers could not find the equalizer in the third period in a 2-1 loss.
The Blueshirts fired 19 shots at Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas in the third period but Thomas turned them all aside. The Bruins’ battling goaltender finished the game with 33 saves and even Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella said that Thomas was the difference in the hockey game.
This felt like a playoff game for both clubs. There was lots of hitting, lots of blocked shots, and timely goal scoring in what could end up being a playoff match-up later on in the spring.
The loss snapped the Rangers’ four game winning streak as well as chance to clinch the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. On the other side, the Bruins clinched their third Northeast Division title in the last four years with the victory and will end up facing the No. 7 team in the conference in the first round.
The Rangers have two extremely tough games coming up that will definitely have a playoff feel to them. Tomorrow night, the team will take on the Philadelphia Flyers and on Thursday night, they will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins before closing out the regular season with a home game against the Washington Capitals at MSG.
Picking-up six more points would certainly be a good way to go into the playoffs, eh?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.