The Rangers’ playoff pictures improves after the win over Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 11: Mika Zibanejad #93, Ryan Strome #16 and Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers celebrate a second period goal against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on February 11, 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was a busy Tuesday night in the NHL with 11 games on the schedule including four that directly affected the New York Rangers’ playoff hopes

It was a 50/50 split for the New York Rangers when it came to scoreboard watching. By defeating the Winnipeg Jets, the Blueshirts moved back to within nine points of the wild card.  They must keep winning on this road trip if they hope to move closer.

In a frightening situation, St. Louis veteran defenseman Jay Boumeester collapsed on the bench, experiencing what was described as a cardiac episode.  It happened with 7:50 left in the first period of the Blues game in Anaheim.  He was rushed to the hospital and the game was postponed. All reports are that he was conscious during the trip to the hospital.

The playoff picture

The Rangers need to leapfrog three teams standing between them and the final wild card position.   The good news is one of those teams lost.  The bad news is one of them won  The other teams the Rangers are watching are already in a playoff position and they split their results.

Dallas dominated the Hurricanes 4-1 and now the Blueshirts are only seven points behind Carolina with a game in hand.   The other game beneficial to the Rangers was the Flyers 5-3 loss to the Islanders.  Philadelphia clawed back from a two goal deficit in the third period, but the Isles scored twice late to win.  The Flyers are in the last wild card spot, nine points ahead of New York.

On the negative side, the Panthers, Maple Leafs and Sabres all won.   With their win, the Panthers remain six points ahead of the Blueshirts.  The Leafs are two points ahead of Florida and remain in third place in the Atlantic Division.   It was a big win for Florida and the Maple Leafs needed overtime to win their game against Arizona.

The Sabres remain two points behind the Blueshirts, a good result for lottery purposes, but by winning Buffalo kept their faint playoff hopes alive.

The standings

Atlantic Div.  GP    W-L-OTL      PTS     RW
Boston            57      34-11-12     80      30
Tampa             57      37-15-5       79      30
Toronto           57      30-19-8       68      22
Met Div.         GP      W-L-OTL     PTS    RW
Washington   56      36-15-5       77     27
Pittsburgh      55      34-15-6       74     23
Islanders        55      33-16-6       72       22
Wild Card       GP       W-L-OTL     PTS   RW
Columbus       57      30-17-10     70    23
Philadelphia   57      31-19-7        69      22
Contenders   GP      W-L-OTL      PTS   RW
Carolina          56     32-21-3        67     22
Florida            56    30-20-6         66     25
Montreal         58     27-24-7       61     17
Rangers           55     28-23-4       60     25
Buffalo             57     25-24-8       58     19
New Jersey     55     20-25-10     50    15
Ottawa             56     18-27-11    47     14
Detroit              58     14-40-4       32     11

The key games today

It’s a light schedule tonight with only one game with Eastern Conference playoff ramifications.

Canadiens @ Bruins – The Rangers are only one point behind Montreal with three games in hand.  The Canadiens are one of the team the Blueshirts must pass in their payoff run so root for the Bruins to beat Montreal.

The lottery look

With their win over the Jets, the Rangers move to 11th from the bottom of the NHL, tied in points with the Minnesota Wild.  They can still move up or down in the lottery standings as the point totals are very close.

The standings (Worst is first)

Teams                  GR     W-L-OTL       PT    RW
1. Detroit              58     14-40-4       32     11
2. Los Angeles   57     19-33-5        43     13
3. Ottawa            56     18-27-11     47     14
4. New Jersey     55     20-25-10     50    15
5. Anaheim         56      30-16-7       52     16
6. San Jose          56     24-28-4        52     18
7. Buffalo             57     25-24-8       58     19
8.  Chicago           56     25-23-8       58     18
9.  Nashville        55    26-22-7        59     21
10.  Minnesota    56     27-23-6       60      24
11.  Rangers         55     28-23-4       60     25
12. Montreal        58     27-24-7        61    17
13. Winnipeg        58    29-24-5        63    22
14. Arizona            59   28-23-8         64    20
16. Vegas               58    28-22-8        64     22

15. Calgary            57   29-22-6         64    19
17. Florida             56    30-20-6        66     25
18. Edmonton      56    30-20-6        66     26
19. Vancouver      57    31-21-5        67      24
20. Carolina          56     32-21-3        67     22
21. Toronto           57    30-19-8        68     22

22. Dallas              56     32-19-5       69      22
23. Philadelphia   57     31-19-7       69      22
24. Columbus       57     30-17-10     70     23
25.Islanders          55    33-16-6       72      22
26. Colorado         55     33-16-6       72      30

Second East Wild Card Cut Line:  69 points
Second West Wild Card Cut Line:  64 points
Playoff  teams in italics.