The NY Rangers clinch a playoff berth after the Sabres and Panthers lose. The Rangers didn’t play, but guaranteed a spot and look to advance further. There are nine games left for the Rangers. Here is a look at what’s to come.
Importance of the Remaining Schedule
Out of the nine games remaining, several of them affect who can make the playoffs or move up in the standings. For example, the Rangers play the New Jersey Devils on March 30. This game is important because the Rangers are only four points behind the Devils, while the Devils are only three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Both teams are looking to move past their current position in the standings so this game can play a pivotal role.
Other games that can change the standings are those against the Buffalo Sabres on March 31 and April 10. Today, the Sabres lost in a shootout (SO) to the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 and helped the Rangers clinch. The reason why these games are so significant is that the Sabres are looking to clinch a playoff berth as well. They are five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card spot.
The Washington Capitals, who the Rangers play on April 2, are fighting for a playoff spot as well. They currently have 76 points with eight games remaining and are also chasing the Penguins.
Another game of importance is the one against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Right now, the Lightning is 11 points ahead of the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division and seven behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second. Both the Panthers and the Lightning have eight games remaining. Mathematically, the Panthers have a chance to surpass the Lightning, but their chances are much better in trying to earn a wild card spot.
Potential Final Standings
The Rangers may have secured a spot in the playoffs, but they are far from done. They need to play playoff hockey for the remainder of the games because it would be an advantage for them to do so. If they finish third in the division, that is great, but the first two spots give home ice advantage and that is always a plus. However, the Rangers’ away record is great.
At home, they are 21-12-4 totalling 46 points. Away they are 22-8-6 with 50 points. It almost makes you want the Rangers to play away. Not quite though because the playoffs is a whole different ballgame. With all that said, home ice is always better during the playoffs because the home team feeds off of the energy of the fans.
Honestly though, if the Rangers gameplay is consistently great like I know they can, it really won’t matter where they play. The wins will come and they will keep advancing. They just have to play like every game matters because it does.
With only a couple of weeks left of the regular season, I am looking forward to the playoffs and how the standings are going to look. There are so many different possible changes that can take place. Although the Rangers are at least guaranteed third in the division, it would be awesome if they moved up. I am excited to see what’s coming next. Where do you see the Rangers in the standings after the final game? Are there any teams you think the Rangers will have trouble with or feel they just won’t beat?