The Montreal Canadiens take to the ice tonight for their final game of the NHL’s regular season before taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The only question left to answer before the postseason begins, is who will host game one in the series between Tampa Bay and Montreal?
Both Atlantic Division teams have played 81 games thus far, and the Lightning hold a one points advantage in the standings with 99. The Canadiens host the New York Rangers tonight in their final game of the season, and the Lightning travel to Washington tomorrow afternoon to take on the Capitals who will miss the plsyoff dance.
The Canadiens hold the tiebreaker right now with 39 wins coming in regulation or overtime, while the Lightning have 38. The Habs won’t have to worry about any tiebreaker scenarios if they can’t beat the Rangers tonight. A loss in regulation to New York, and Montreal will be packing their bags for Tampa Bay.
The Rangers have locked up second seed in the Atlantic Division with their 95 points and will host either the Philadelphia Flyers or Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs.
The Rangers have had a great season on the road, as their record of 25-14-1 shows. The 51 points they have banked in the standings as visitors trails only the Bruins in the Eastern Conference. They, just like the Habs, are 7-2-1 in their past ten, as they raced for home ice in the playoffs opening round.
The Canadiens will wrap up their home schedule tonight, and will look to improve an already impressive 22-13-5 record as host.