It has been suggested that the New York Rangers move to San Diego, but continue to play their 40-game home schedule at Madison Square Garden. The reasoning is that treating the Garden as foreign territory might improve the performances there by the only National Hockey League team that earned more points (48) on the road than at home (44) this season.
The Rangers are at the Garden tonight, needing a victory to avoid elimination in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup quarterfinal series with the New York Islanders, who hold a 3-2 edge and have won both games played in Manhattan.
The Rangers forced Game 6 with a 4-2 victory Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum. So far in the playoffs, the Rangers are 4-1 on the road, 1-3 at home, which defies all the logic that dictates playing 80 regular-season games for little more than home-ice advantage in divisional playoffs.
The Rangers have more than Gardenitis going against them tonight. Center Mike Rogers, their leading scorer with 103 points, is out with a knee injury, suffered on his first shift Wednesday. Mikko Leinonen and Mark Pavelich, who missed Wednesday's game, are doubtful tonight and goalie Ed Mio, the 29-save hero of the fifth-game triumph, has been troubled by back spasms.
The Rangers have overcome an incredible list of injuries this season, but one can only wonder how much longer the dwindling number of healthy skaters can keep things going.
The Quebec Nordiques are back at Le Colisee tonight, one victory away from eliminating the Boston Bruins. After dropping the first two games of the series, perhaps experiencing a letdown after that upset of Montreal, the Nordiques have won three in a row, capped by Wednesday's 4-3 victory in Boston Garden.
Peter Stastny, who suffered a kidney injury in the opener against the Canadiens, is back in top form, as evidenced by his two goals and an assist Wednesday.
The St. Louis Blues, beset by injuries and flu, are in a difficult position tonight, needing a victory at Chicago to force a seventh game in the Norris Division final series.
Bernie Federko's overtime goal kept the Blues alive at home on Wednesday, but they never have won a playoff game in Chicago and, like the Rangers, would seem to be asking too much of too few.
Waiting to board a plane for either Chicago or St. Louis are the only semifinalists yet determined, the Vancouver Canucks, who ended the Los Angeles Kings' brief reign as Cinderella with a 5-2 victory Wednesday