Skipjacks coach Robbie Laird said before last night's game in Binghamton that it would in no way be a prelude to the upcoming playoff series between the two teams.
Jacks fans are hoping he's right.
The Jacks lost 5-2 to the Rangers in a totally meaningless final regular-season game, but Laird's one wish for the weekend was met -- no one got hurt.
The only player the Jacks should be without when the teams meet again Friday in Binghamton in Game 1 of the Southern Division semifinals will be defenseman Mark Ferner, who is up with the Washington Capitals spelling defenseman Mikhail Tatarinov, who suffered a hamstring injury Saturday night.
"We left Alfie Turcotte, Steve Seftel and Tyler Larter back in Baltimore for the trip," Laird said of the trio of forwards who are out with minor injuries. "We want everyone to be ready by Friday."
Everybody could also mean long-lost defenseman Chris Felix, who broke his ankle Dec. 22, but appears ready to go for the playoffs.
"Three months is a long time but he's been skating for a few weeks and I think he's getting a lot of good hard work in practice," Laird said. "He'll probably go easy at first, but he should be ready."
One thing that is unquestioned in preparation for the Rangers is who the goalie will be.
Laird said he expects Jim Hrivnak to get the call in each of the playoff games.
"He has been our main guy all season and we've got confidence in him," Laird said.
The Jacks finished the season with a 39-34-7 record, nine points behind second-place Binghamton (44-30-6) and seven points ahead of fourth-place Hershey.
The Bears (33-35-12) will host a two-game series with fifth-place Adirondack tomorrow and Wednesday to determine who will face first-place Rochester (45-26-9).
Before last night's game, Laird expressed minor concern that the final regular-season game would turn into a match of aggression, with the teams flexing their muscles to set the tone for what should be a physical playoff series.
Instead, there were just two isolated incidents, where pushing and shoving involved the Jacks' Tim Taylor and Rob Murray.