Technically, the New Jersey Devils kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Saturday.
Their odds are still ridiculously low – Sports Club Stats gives them less than a five percent shot if they win all four of their remaining games – but the New York Rangers can officially eliminate them in the local rivals’ NHL on NBC match at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The Rangers have plenty to fight for beyond smiting their foes, though. While they’re currently ranked eighth in the East, the Winnipeg Jets remain only one point behind for that final playoff spot.
John Tortorella’s bunch has been beating up on fading teams lately. After struggling to score most of this season, the Rangers pounded the Panthers 6-1 and the Buffalo Sabres 8-4 in back-to-back nights on April 18 and 19.
Considering their recently-broken 10-game losing streak, the Devils might seem like they’d be roadkill for the Rangers as well. That might not be the case, however, as Ilya Kovalchuk seemed comfortable in his return from a shoulder injury on Saturday and New Jersey won its last two games by a combined score of 9-2.
With Brad Richards showing more life lately (particularly scoring a hat trick in New York’s last game) and the Devils grasping for the last remnants of their playoff hopes, Sunday’s game could get awfully interesting … and maybe a little nasty.