Rush lookin' to chop some lumber

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush need to take care of business.

Before they can set up a one-game, winner-goes-to-the-playoffs showdown with the Calgary Roughnecks tomorrow, the Rush have to get past the Portland LumberJax tonight.

If they don't, the season finale at Rexall Place could be meaningless.

"It's pretty easy for us not to look at Calgary," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day. "We have to beat Portland to have an opportunity."

A loss tonight could still allow the Rush to play for the all the marbles against Calgary.

They would just need the Roughnecks to lose to the Arizona Sting in Phoenix.

As long as the Rush remain a game back or pull even in the standings with Calgary heading into tomorrow's game, the showdown is still a possibility.

If the Rush lose in Portland and the Roughnecks win in Phoenix, it's all over and tomorrow's game becomes moot.

"We haven't really talked towards the end of our season about being a spoiler; that's not what really motivates our guys," said LumberJax head coach and general manager Derek Keenan.

"What motivates our guys is trying to get better, regardless of what anybody else is doing in the standings.

"We have to go into the game with the approach that we want to finish positive here. It's been a tough season and we want to go out with a win, regardless of what it does to others in the standings. We don't really care at this point."

Heading into the contest the LumberJax have a 3-12 record and are out of the playoff chase. They have been for some time. However, they beat Calgary in the first game of a back-to-back two weeks ago, which opened the door for the Rush.

Portland also gave the San Jose Stealth all they could handle last week, battling back from a 7-1 deficit to take an 8-7 lead before losing 9-8.

Earlier this season the Rush needed overtime to get past the LumberJax at Rexall Place.

"The parity of the league is so tight," Day said.

"I think 50% of our games this year have been one-goal games, so we know everything is going to be tight. It comes down to special teams and a quarter here and a quarter there.

"We won the front side of a back to back last weekend. And we won the backside of a back-to-back the previous weekend.

"Hopefully this weekend we can put them both together."

The Rush go into the weekend at 6-8, while the Roughnecks are 7-7.

"Even if the Roughnecks lose tonight and the Rush win, tomorrow's game will still be for the final playoff spot.

Having that game count will mean a lot for the team and the organization who only won one game in their inaugural season last year.

If it comes down to the last game, the Rush are looking to pack Rexall Place, where they haven't played since March 16.

"Tonight's game in Portland is the last of six consecutive road games for the Rush.

"We've been in playoff mode for the past month now," said Day.

"We want to make that Calgary game mean something. We haven't been home in a while either, so we're excited to get home.

"With the Oilers out of the NHL playoffs hopefully there'll be a little extra energy in the building for that game against Calgary."


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