It’s day two of the New York Rangers mid-season vacation. That means it was another opportunity for lottery rivals to gain ground on the Blueshirts.
There was absolutely no movement on the playoff front as not a single Eastern Conference playoff team was in action. The New York Rangers remain nine points behind Pittsburgh for the wild card and ten points behind Washington for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Lottery Look
A quiet night in the NHL with only four games on the schedule. As far as far as lottery teams, three were playing, but two played each other so only two teams could gain on New York, barring overtime. So, the Rangers remain 11 places and six points from the bottom of the league standings.
Los Angeles beat St. Louis 4-3 and moved out of the last place overall with 44 points. Amazingly, there are FOUR teams tied with 43 points. Chicago, Ottawa, Detroit and New Jersey all have the same 43 points, but there are tiebreakers, beginning with games played, so the Blackhawks are ahead in the Lose for Hughes contest.
With the loss, the Blues move within two points of the Rangers.
In the other game, the Panthers upset the Sharks. Florida has won three games in a row in a mini resurgence and find themselves only one point behind the Blueshirts.
The standings (Worst is first)
Teams GP W-L-OTL PTS ROW
1. Chicago 50 17-24-9 43 17
2. Detroit 50 18-25-7 43 16
3. Ottawa 49 19-25-5 43 19
4. New Jersey 48 18-23-7 43 17
5. Los Angeles 50 20-26-4 44 19
6. Philadelphia 48 19-23-6 44 17
7. St. Louis 47 21-21-5 47 21
8. Florida 47 20-20-8 48 18
9. Arizona 48 22-22-4 48 20
10. Edmonton 49 23-23-3 49 21
11. Rangers 48 21-20-7 49 16
12. Anaheim 50 21-20-9 51 18
13. Carolina 48 23-20-5 51 22
14. Vancouver 50 23-21-6 52 22
15. Buffalo 48 24-18-6 54 21
Who to root for
Five games on the schedule with six lottery teams in action, though two of the games involved two lottery teams.
Islanders @ Blackhawks – The Islanders are the hottest team in the league. Can Chicago take them on? It’s doubtful,but in a league full of upsets, Ranger fans can only hope. Hey, the Hawks scored eight goals against the Capitals on Sunday night.
Hurricanes @ Flames – The Rangers winning streak has gotten them only two points worse than Carolina. A Hurricanes win would put some space in between the teams, but it is a tall order to win in Calgary.
Coyotes @ Senators – An Arizona win and they pass the Rangers in the standings. An Ottawa win and they move out of last place and within four points of the idle Blueshirts. Root for the Senators to win in overtime.
Red Wings @ Oilers – Edmonton is now tied with the Rangers with 49 points Detroit is mired in last place. Both teams have been playing mediocre hockey and are in the midst of two game losing streaks. Root for Detroit to win in overtime.
Two more days of games to be played while the Rangers are idle. How much help they will get from their fellow lottery remains to be seen, but at this point it doesn’t look like much.