Game 82. After this, every game will take a step up in intensity. How fitting it is that the most storied building in the hockey world is home to the finale. It’s the Rangers and the Maple Leafs as two of the best teams in the NHL clash on Broadway. At the end of the season, two elite teams, this should be a game to remember… right? Well, unfortunately not and we will see that as we move through this preview.
Neither team has anything to play for. Toronto has home ice in round one against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay cannot catch them, and Toronto may not match Boston’s point total from this season until Thanksgiving. For New York, they will be the road team in round one. They cannot control anything. It’ll either be New Jersey or Carolina. To find out who, the Blueshirts will need to be doing a little scoreboard-watching themselves.
Here’s how it stands. Right now, it’s the Devils hosting the Rangers. If Carolina beats the Panthers, it’ll stay that way. If New Jersey loses in regulation to Washington, it’ll stay that way. If New Jersey gets a better result against Washington than Carolina does against Florida, it’ll be the Hurricanes who will take on the Rangers in round one. It can go either way, but it will be a tough series for the Rangers no matter what.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting – Auston Matthews – Mitchell Marner
Matthew Knies – Ryan O’Reilly – William Nylander
Alexander Kerfoot – Noel Acciari – Calle Jarnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese – David Kampf – Conor Timmins
Morgan Rielly — Luke Schenn
TJ Brodie — Justin Holl
Jake McCabe — Timothy Liljegren
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Patrick Kane
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey – Barclay Goodrow – Tyler Motte
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Niko Mikkola – Braden Schneider
Puck drop time and where to watch
This is a 7 PM Eastern puck drop from the Garden. With two of the most storied teams in the hockey world going toe to toe as both have their sights set on the postseason, this game is completely dead rubber. Neither team has anything to gain with a result here so expect a game where both teams look to take things easy ahead of what both teams will hope is a deep postseason run.