Well, we didn't beat the Islanders but we did clinch a playoff spot Saturday night by defeating the Sabres. Nothing like coming down to the wire. And yes, it's certainly not where we hoped to finish in the standings, but it's a fresh start. A start that begins with a rematch against the Rangers, the team that last season made an incredible comeback and shattered our playoff run. A jaw-dropping, "can you believe that just happened?" bad dream. While we didn't fair well against NY during the regular season, this could be different.
I'd like to think of our low ranking as a positive. After all, we've had a lackluster second half of our season, and I'd assume that any team at this point would be excited to face us in the playoffs. Perhaps that can work in our favor, and we'll be the dark horse that hits them when they're least expecting it. Sure, we don't have home ice advantage for ANY possible future series, but that didn't seem to benefit it us, especially when we were swept by Boston two years ago. We were at the top of the world and it was a long, hard fall. Not to mention, my hopes were too high then. As the bottom seed, my expectations are set much lower and I'm not picturing the long-term. I don't have envisions of Sid holding the cup. While of course that is any fan's ultimate fantasy, I'm focused on the more immediate, small steps in the process. First stop: Madison Square Garden to face the President's Trophy victors. It will be hard fought, but isn't that true of anything worthwhile?