As part of our coverage of the New York Rangers, we are breaking down the season into 10-game sequences and making projections on how the Blueshirts will do. It’s hard to believe that we already at game #70…but we are. That means the Rangers just concluded their sixth set of 10 games so here we go.
How we’ve done
Not knowing what to expect, we didn’t project the results for the first ten games when they went 6-2-2. I doubt we would have projected 14 points out of 20. Good for them for getting that many. Here’s how we’ve done over the next four sets of 10 games.
- #11-20: We predicted 12 points out of 20 and they ended up with 15. That stretch of games featured some of the best hockey this team has played this season and it showed in the points total. Their record was 7-2-1.
- #21-30: Our second projection was 14 points out of 20 and they fell one short, ending up with 13 with a 6-3-1 record.
- #31-40: We projected 14 out of 20 points and we were spot on, as they ended up with 14 points and a record of 7-3-0.
- #41-50: We were overly optimistic, predicting 15 of a possible 20 points. They fell two points short, ending up with 13 points with a record of 6-3-1.
The last 10 games
For games 51-60 we were pretty conservative (realistic) and predicted 13 points out of 20 and a 6-3-1 record. They ended up falling one short, finishing with 12 points. Not looking for a pat on the back, here’s what we said: “The record should be 6-3-1 with the losses coming on the road to Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Minnesota.”
Yes, they lost on the road to Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Minnesota so we were dead on. Where we went wrong was we expected a win at the Garden over Vancouver and we all know how that worked out.
Injuries are always an unknown and going in, most expected Kaapo Kakko to be back at some point and the loss of Kevin Rooney didn’t help.
The 12 points in 10 games was the fewest in any 10 game sequence with two of the sequences with 13 points. It was also the first time this season that they lost four games in the 10 game sequence. Considering how well they have played, a let down at some point had to be expected. The key is how they respond over the next 10 games.
How our readers did
We invited our readers to weigh in and we had a pretty big spread when it came to predictions. There were a number of optimists but quite a few who felt the Blueshirts were ready for a downturn.
Kudos to Robert Degen who not only predicted wins, but also threw in another prediction saying “I’ll be optimistic, 15 out of 20 points, and Igor scores a goal.”
The other optimists included J.P. who predicted “14-16 points. Depends on some OT outcomes and how many starts Georgie gets.”
14 points was a popular number. Jazz999 explained “I certainly think they can beat the Pens, Wild and Anaheim, but it’s going to be difficult beating the Blues two times. Jets and Devils they should beat. Caps are beatable as is Dallas and Canucks. I’m going with 14 points.”
Dave Sisler has been watching too many gambling commercials: “14. Double sevens double lucky.”
RGSRBGolfing was an optimist and hoped for more: “I’m thinking 6-2-2 for 14 points. Figuring on a split with St. Louis. We’ll play even with some of these tough teams (Caps, Pens, Wild), but may fall in OT or shootout in a few. Then we may have one clunker against a team we should beat (although that hasn’t happened much this season). Hope I’m wrong and they do better.”
George217, who is always looking for a Mika shortie said : “I’m sticking with my 7-3 -0 🤞🤞🤞. I think the Pens , Stars, Blues are the teams they’ll have a hard time with. I hope 🤞 I’m WRONG !!!”
Jaymo also predicted the 14 points, but had the losses wrong: ” I say 14 points with losses at #52 (Pitt),55 (Devils), and 59 (Dallas).”
Meanwhile, NYRangersFan94 was right in predicting three of the losses, but was a little too positive. ” I’d say we go 7-2-1 with losses against Pittsburgh, Minnesota and the second game vs the Blues.”
Two of our readers were spot on with predictions of 12 points.
Ian M needs to think about placing some bets. He was perfect in predicting the point total and three of the losses…but was off with two OT losses in his projection: “I’m predicting 12 points with a 5-3-2 record. The losses will come against Pittsburgh, and Minny and St. Louis in their barns.”
JeffS was pretty succinct his his projection: “Rangers underperform and get 12 points.”
Then there was the pessimists club. Eugene Plaksienko looked for a .500 record: “They would be lucky to get half of the points. I would say 4-4-2.”
Dominick Rossi looked for nine points out of 20: “I see a downturn coming, mostly on the road. 4-5-1. OT loss to the Caps losses at Pitt, STL, Dallas, Minn, and Winn. Victories over Van, NJ, STL, and the Ducks.”
The most negative projection came from Hook who accurately predicted some goaltending issues: “Igor tires soon and I see a slump, 3-6-1 next ten then a strong finish. way too dependent on Igor lately.”
It’s great to hear from all of our readers. Keep those predictions coming!
The next 10 games #61-70
The next games are chock full of possibilities for the Rangers. There are a few really tough games, but they could come out of the next 10 games with a firm grip on second place in the Metropolitan Division. That’s because seven of the 10 games are against Metropolitan Division foes, including the Penguins, twice.
They play an even number of games on the road and at home. There is a three-game road trip, the last one of the season longer than two games. There are two sets of back-to-backs, one pretty challenging. Only four of the ten games are against teams in the playoffs, but they will tell us a lot about how the Rangers compare.
Ironically, the first three games are the most interesting as they come right before the trade deadline. The Rangers host the Islanders and that always promises to be a good game. The Isles have figured out how to score with 22 goals in their last five games so they will be a challenge.
The next two games will be the toughest in the 10 games with back-to-back meetings in Tampa and Carolina, the teams with the third and fourth best records in the NHL. Tampa has a great home record (19-5-4) and Carolina has lost only six times in 29 home games. Factor in that Igor Shesterkin will get one of the starts and it will be a challenge to come out of those two games with any points.
After the deadline the Rangers play a last “road” game in Newark against the Devils, then have two days off before the Penguins come to the Garden. The Rangers play their Pittsburgh rivals twice in the next three games, home and away. After the first Penguins game, Buffalo comes to town.
The schedule finishes up with three “easy” games, the first on the road in Detroit and at home versus the Islanders and Flyers.
So, as you can see, it’s a weird mix of tough games, not so tough games and three games against local arch rivals.
Okay, now that we know who they will be playing, it’s time to make some projections.
This may be one of the tougher sequences to predict. One question is what will happen on Monday when the trade deadline hits. The Rangers already picked up Frank Vatrano, the question is what moves the Lightning, Hurricanes and Penguins will make. Not only that, of the six teams the Rangers will play, after the deadline, four of them are expected to be sellers and that could be a good thing for the Blueshirts.
Our projections is that the Rangers will come away with 13 points. That’s one more than they got the last ten games and the same number that we projected last time.
The sure wins will come against the Islanders (twice), Devils, Buffalo and Detroit. They will split against the Penguins and lose to Carolina and Tampa. They will get to overtime in one of the Pittsburgh, Carolina and Tampa games accounting for the extra point.
13 points should be reachable considering the resilience of this team. Artemi Panarin is heating up and once the team get past the uncertainties of the trade deadline, they should be relaxed and ready for the stretch run.
What they need to make the playoffs
Why are we even asking that question? The Rangers will definitely make the playoffs, the only questions are where they will finish and who they will play in the first round.
Why are we so sure? Their only team that threatens them are the Washington Capitals who will have to go on quite a run to catch the Blueshirts. The Rangers have a five point lead over the Caps and a game in hand. It may not seem like a big lead, but Washington has only 21 games left and if the Rangers play just .500 hockey, the Caps have to win at a .667 clip.
If they can come away with 13 points they will have 94 points with 12 games to go. Before the season, who would have predicted that?
Are 13 points too many? Too few? Feel free to make your own projections below. Here is the schedule:
#61 Thursday, March 17 – Islanders
#62 Saturday, March 19 – At Tampa
#63 Sunday, March 20 – At Carolina
#64 Tuesday, March 22 – At New Jersey
#65 Friday, March 25 – Pittsburgh
#66 Sunday, March 27 – Buffalo
#67 Tuesday, March 29 – At Pittsburgh
#68 Wednesday, March 30 – At Detroit
#69 Friday, April 1 – Islanders
#70 Sunday, April 3 – Philadelphia