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Sunday April 11, 2010 10:08 am

Game 7, Game 82…it’s all the same




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: NHL, Playoffs,

Mike Richards/Dan GirardiOn the final day of NHL competition, it usually comes down to one thing: who will be playing who in the playoffs? That’s exactly the situation in the Western Conference as all eight playoff teams were determined earlier this week, but still, five of the eight seeds are variable. In the Eastern Conference, things are quite the opposite. The first six seeds are all determined. The last two are up for grabs between three teams in a game of NHL musical chairs.

The Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff berth with an overtime loss against the Maple Leafs last night, but whether they finish seventh or eighth is to be determined by the other two teams; the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers. The most exciting part of this three-way deal is that they’ll play each other today at 3pm EST in a winner-take-all battle for another day. Points don’t matter anymore. Whether the win comes in regulation, overtime, or a shootout; the winner is in, the loser is out.

If the Flyers win, they’ll move themselves up into seventh place and bump Montreal into eighth, as they’ll be tied with 88 points, but the Flyers have the tiebreaker with more wins throughout the regular season. If the Rangers win, they’ll just hop into eighth. The Rangers were 1-2-1 against the Canadiens this season, which gives the Canadiens the tiebreaking edge. After 81 games each, the season comes down to this, and both teams know that their fate is entirely in their own hands.

Regardless where any of these three teams end up, the two that go on will be up against the Washington Capitals or the New Jersey Devils, two of the most dangerous teams in hockey. None of the guys taking the ice this afternoon will take this game lightly, and they know that even one small mistake might cost their team six months of hard work. Everybody loves a game seven. All the same emotions will be attached to this game.

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