There's a Western Conference in the National Hockey League. Apparently they play on ice and everything, and there are two teams from that conference that play a game against each other on Monday night.
The Phoenix Coyotes take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that could see the 2010 Stanley Cup Champs eliminated from the postseason. While we're still a long way off from anything in that conference affecting the Flyers, I think we can all safely say Go Coyotes on this one, unless you're interested in seeing some Game 7 fun. All five games in the series so far have gone to overtime, which is just incredible.
There's just one other game in the NHL on Monday, and it affects us quite a bit more. The New York Rangers face elimination (!) against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place in the middle-of-nowhere Ontario, and both teams have some reinforcements. Ottawa's getting Daniel Alfredsson back after a Carl Hagelin elbow knocked him out of Game 2 with a concussion, while the Rangers are getting Hagelin back after his three-game suspension.
The Sens will also introduce Swedish star Jakob Silfverberg to the NHL this evening. Read more about him at our Sens sister blog Silver Seven, which seems aptly named for the prospect's North American debut tonight.
How's the game impact the Flyers outlook for the second round? As of this writing, they can play literally any other team remaining in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but things obviously get narrowed down a bit if New York is eliminated tonight. Oh, and if you haven't been following along with the hockey thing this year, we want that to happen.
Should New York lose, that'll lock the No. 5 (hey, that's us!) and No. 8 seeds into the second round, while the No. 3 Panthers, No. 6 Devils, No. 2 Bruins and No. 7 Capitals will still remain in the hunt for the second round.
We still won't learn the second-round opponent tonight regardless of the result in Ottawa, but if the Rangers lose tonight, it'll guarantee a meeting against either Florida, New Jersey, Washington or Ottawa. That's right: A Sens win tonight means no matchup against the Bruins or Rangers, at least when it comes to the Conference Semifinals.
tl;dr: GO SENS GO.
Use this as a discussion thread for tonight's hockeying. Complete schedule of the action with TV info and such right over here.