Day One of the New York Rangers vacation, the Lottery Look

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 19: Danton Heinen #43 of the Boston Bruins against Adam McQuaid #54 and Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on January 19, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It the first day of the New York Rangers mid-season vacation.  They cannot get any points so they cannot make progress in the playoff race, but they can lose ground to their lottery competitors (a good thing).

On the playoff front, most of the teams that the New York Rangers need to catch were not in action, so not much to report there. In “The Athletic” website daily projection of the final standings, the Rangers’ odds of making the playoffs doubled from 1% to 2% with their win in Boston. They have the Rangers finishing fifth from the bottom with 80 points.

The Lottery Look

There were five games in the NHL on Sunday and there were lottery contenders in every one of them.  There were some surprising results that helped the Rangers.  Strangely, though they didn’t play, the moved from 10th from the bottom to the 11th from the bottom. That ‘s because the Oilers, with the same number of points have played more games.

The Blackhawks beat the Capitals 8-5. Yes, you read that right. The Caps have lost five in a row and have dropped into third place in the Metropolitan Division. Another loss or two and they will drop into a wildcard spot. The Hawks moved out of the last overall spot in the league, ahead of Los Angeles.

In another shocker, the Coyotes beat Toronto in Toronto, 4-2.  The Leafs are in a downturn, losers of two straight and of only three in their last ten.  Arizona moved to within a point of the Rangers.

Carolina and Edmonton went into their contest, both teams with 49 points, same as the Rangers.  Carolina won 7-4 and moved two points ahead of the Oilers and the Rangers.

The second game between two lottery contenders was the meeting between the Canucks and the Red Wings.  Vancouver prevailed, 3-2.  With the loss, the Red Wings remain six points behind New York.  The Canucks leapfrogged the Ducks into the 14th worst overall position.

Anaheim fell back into their losing ways, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Islanders.  Anaheim slipped one point behind Vancouver.

The standings (Worst is first)

Teams                  GP         W-L-OTL     PTS   ROW
1. Los Angeles     49        19-26-4     42      18
2. Chicago             50        17-24-9      43     17
3. Ottawa              49        19-25-5      43     19
4. Detroit               49       18-25-7      43     16
5. New Jersey       48       18-23-7      43     17
6. Philadelphia      48       19-23-6     44     17
7. Florida                46      19-20-8      46     17
8.  St. Louis            47       21-21-5      47     21
9. Arizona               48       22-22-4      48     19
10. Edmonton       49       23-23-3      49     21
11. Rangers           48       21-20-7      49     16
12.  Carolina          48       23-20-5      51     22
13. Anaheim          49       21-20-9      51    18
14. Vancouver       50       23-21-6      52    22
15.  Buffalo            48      24-18-6       54    21

Who to root for

Only four games on the schedule and only three lottery contenders in action.

Blues @ Kings – The Blues are right behind the Rangers,  while the Kings are seven points behind the Rangers so root for an overtime game with the Kings winning.

Sharks @ Panthers – Florida is three points worse than the Rangers so a Panthers win will help immensely.

Three more days of games played while the Rangers are idle.  How much help they will get from their fellow lottery contenders remains to be seen.