If the Rangers get a chance to play these teams, brace yourself. These are two teams the Rangers would love to avoid. They would be daunting matchups that would have New York fans worried and hoping for the best. They could face one of these teams as early as the second round and the other may have to wait until the Conference Finals.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Who would want the Rangers to play against the two-time defending champions? Only anyone who would want to see a matchup between the two best goalies in the NHL.
The Lightning match up with the Rangers (or the Rangers match up with the Lightning) better than every team when it comes to goaltending. Andrei Vasilevskiy, for the past few years, has been one of the best goaltenders, if not the best, in the NHL. If the Rangers and Tampa Bay meet, it would be an elite goalie matchup between Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy.
Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy are two of the best goalies in the league, and it would be a great matchup to see them line up for a playoff series. Both would be called to make big saves, and one or the other might need to stand on their heads to win this series.
The Rangers are 2-0 against Tampa Bay this season, with one being a massacre at the Garden, but Igor Shesterkin helped steal that win. The Rangers have the firepower to beat Tampa Bay, but most factors work towards the Lightning’s favor.
Also, it is worth noting that Tampa Bay has the experience, and against a fairly young Rangers team they could take advantage. The Rangers have not been to the playoffs since 2017, and Tampa Bay won the Cup the past two years.
If the Rangers can make it past the First Round, it’s likely that they will face the Carolina Hurricanes next. From their one matchup so far this season, I don’t think New York would want to play Carolina considering how they dominated the Rangers in that January meeting, winning 6-3.
I don’t think anyone would want to play the Canes, who look like the favorite to come out of the Metropolitan Division. Also, playing against that many former Rangers, you know something is going to go wrong.