Before the season started, Kevin brainstormed how many points it would take to make the playoffs in this lockout shortened season. Kevin concluded that it should take roughly 63 points to lead the conference and 53 points to make the playoffs, or a 1.12 point per game pace. As of today, the Rangers have 18 points in 16 games, averaging 1.13 points per game. That pace would give them 54 points for the season.
The Rangers have games remaining and need about 35 more points to qualify for the playoffs. At that rate the Rangers would need an average of 1.09 points per game for the remainder of the season. That’s not exactly difficult for this team. The doom-and-gloom of the Rangers missing the playoffs is pretty ridiculous at this point, especially when you look at the pace the Rangers are on, and how they exploded in the second and third months of the season last year.
Since the Rangers started the season 1-3-0, they have compiled a 7-3-2 record and have been one of the better teams in the East. Using the 7-3-2 pace they have been on for the past 12 games, that’s a 1.33 point-per-game pace. If they continue on that pace for the remainder of the season, that’s approximately 43 points in the remaining 35 games. Add that to the 18 they have, and that’s 61 points for the season, two points off the project amount to win the conference.
Even if that pace is a bit unrealistic, let’s use the 8-4-2 pace the Rangers set after losing their first two games of the year. That’s approximately 1.28 points per game. That would be 41 points in 35 games, and 59 points for the season. That’s a bit more realistic given what we’ve seen thus far, and would likely give the Rangers a #4 or #5 seed in the playoffs.
The Rangers may have spoiled fans with their #1 seed for last year’s playoffs, but the #1 seed in the conference doesn’t guarantee you anything. The #6 seeded Devils went to the Stanley Cup Finals against the #8 seeded LA Kings. The year before, the #3 Boston Bruins won the Cup. Before that, the #2 Blackhawks beat the #7 Flyers.
It’s not the regular season record that dictates playoff success. All that matters is that the Rangers get to the playoffs. At their current pace, that won’t be much of a problem.