The Habs have 3 DIFFICULT games remaining on their regular season, and it may go down to the wire to determine who makes it to the big dance.
Montreal have 92 points and sit in 7th, 3 ahead of a Rangers team looking to take advantage of a depleted Montreal blueline tonight in what is essentially a 4-point game at MSG.
Then, Montreal heads to Boston for a tough duel with a potential 1st-round opponent in the Bruins.
Should all hell break loose and the Habs need one more game to decide their fates, they will return home (at least) to face a loaded Penguins team, also battling to secure a playoff spot.
I alluded to the Rangers facing a depleted Habs blueline earlier...let me get into detail on that.
First of all, Mikhail Grabovski is an asshole.
Here's a guy who has effectively replaced Darcy Tucker as the city of Montreal's public enemy #1. The guy had harsh words for the team when he was traded away, got into a few altercations with Sergei Kostitsyn, and now, worst of all, hit Andrei Markov from behind and left the vulnerable Markov on the ice after driving his face into the boards/glass. Markov, our leading scorer, will miss 3 weeks.
Apart from that, Mathieu Schneider suffered an injury in the same game vs. Toronto that will force him to miss the ENTIRE season...playoffs included! Just when the powerplay seemed to be injected with life again, our two quarterbacks are out, likely through the first round of the playoffs (if we make it there).
Thanks, Toronto. Sure, we injured your Van Ryn in a game early in the season, but he's no Schneider or Markov! We had also injured your McCabe many moons ago, but quite frankly, we did you a favor.
The game vs the Rangers tonight will be epic. A win, and Montreal will secure 94 points, 42 wins, and a berth in the playoffs! The final spot would be left for NY and Florida to battle for, which is why tonight's game is equally important to NY as it is to the Habs. I recommend not missing the action tonight!