"We Control Our Own Destiny"

Given a second chance to clinch a berth in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the eighth-place Rangers skate against the Carolina Hurricanes this evening at PNC Arena, two nights after losing to the Florida Panthers 3-2. A win on Tuesday would have clinched a spot in the post-season for the Blueshirts, just as a victory tonight---or a loss by ninth-place Winnipeg against Montreal this evening---would.

There was a full-team morning skate at PNC Arena on Thursday, and head coach John Tortorella confirmed that Henrik Lundqvist will make his 13th straight start in goal and that there would no lineup changes---meaning that Matt Gilroy and Roman Hamrlik will again be the healthy scratches while Marc Staal and Derek Dorsett remain not quite healthy enough for a lineup return just yet.

Defenseman Steve Eminger said after the skate that Tuesday's loss was quickly left behind by the team, and the focus is squarely on the task at hand---winning tonight and securing that playoff berth.

"We moved on really quickly because we have to," explained Eminger. "We control our own destony, which is all you can ask for. Just win a game. That's all. I know the guys are all geared up and positive, and there's absolutely nothing that is behind us that matters now."

Depending upon results of other games involving Ottawa, the Islanders, Toronto, and  of course Winnipeg in the coming days the Rangers could wind up anywhere from fifth place to ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Most importantly though, the Rangers do not need to depend on anyone else in order to secure a spot in the playoffs. They just need to win tonight or Saturday against the Devils at The Garden in the regular season finale.

"We've just got to get two points, that's all," stated defenseman Ryan McDonagh. You'd rather be in our situation than be on the outside looking in, hoping and wishing. We can just focus on ourselves and focus on our game, and just take care of business here tonight."

The Rangers will be facing a 'Canes squad that has won two in a row, but will finish out of the playoffs for a fourth straight season. And Carolina will be without star winger Alexander Semin tonight, as it was announced that he is shut down for the remainder of the season due to a concussion.


The New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced on Thursday that Marc Staal is the team's niminee for the Masterton Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies perseverance and dedictaion to the game of hockey. Staal, of course, missed half of last season due to a concussion before returning to the Rangers lineup at the Winter Classic; and this season Staal was playing at an All Star level again before suffering a frightening injury to his right eye on March 5th.

"This is an honor," Staal said after taking part in the morning skate in Carolina. "But I hope not to be in these situations too much in the future."

In addition, the hockey writers selected defenseman Dan Girardi the recipient of the Rangers 2013 Good Guy Award for his availability and willingness to work cooperatively with the media throughout the season.