Today is the first time the New York Rangers can mathematically punch their ticket to the dance that we call the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Boston, Carolina, and most recently New Jersey have already clinched their places. New York will be one of two teams that can get in mathematically today with the Toronto Maple Leafs being the other one. Here’s what you need to be paying attention to if want to see that X beside the Rangers in the standings.
First, the Florida Panthers and the Ottawa Senators. If the Senators win that game in regulation, half the battle will be done. New York got to see firsthand how good the Panthers can be so Manhatten will all be Ottawa Senators fans and hope that Ryan Reynolds’ new franchise can do the most iconic American franchise in the sport a major favor with a regulation victory.
As I mentioned, the Senators’ victory in regulation is half the battle. New York will also need the Montreal Canadiens to pick up 2 points in Buffalo, but those can come in any fashion to allow the Rangers to punch their playoff ticket. Montreal will be eliminated if they do not pick up the two points anyway, so the Rangers are hoping to ride the desperation of their original 6 rivals.
There are more than just mathematical playoff berths on the table here. New Jersey will take on the Islanders today and if the Islanders are able to pick up a win, the Rangers would be just 4 points back of the Devils with a game in hand and a game against the Devils directly on the horizon. If you are an optimist and would prefer to look up as opposed to down, New York is united in its fandom today.
As always, if all else fails, the Rangers will be in action tomorrow when they take on the Blue Jackets. So there will be a chance for the Blueshirts to do all of this tomorrow when they play, but some scoreboard help has never hurt an organization that wants to achieve more than they currently are. Home ice in round one could be a major factor so the closer they get to that specifically, the better.