The Rangers lost last night. It happens. They dominated the game, but still fell short to an inferior team. It happens. The Blackhawks had their record streak broken by the 29th best team in the league this season. The Rangers lost to the worst team in the league. A team that has still won 13 games this season. It happens.
What is more important is that the Jets lost. What is more important is that the Rangers control their own destiny. What is more important is that the Rangers’ magic number is at two. What is more important is that any combination of the Rangers getting two points in their final two games OR the Jets losing two points in their final game (remember, the Rangers have a game in hand) and the Rangers qualify for the playoffs.
The Rangers have two games remaining, one at Carolina and one at MSG against the Devils. If the Rangers continue to play the way they have been playing over this 8-3-1 stretch, then they will beat a Carolina team that is under .500. Remember, the Rangers didn’t play poorly last night, they just got relatively unlucky. Hockey happens.
When hockey happens, it generally balances out over the course of a few games. The Rangers have been playing very well during this stretch, and the puck just didn’t bounce their way. If they dominate puck possession (+25 Corsi last night) tomorrow the way they did last night, then they should come out with a W and a playoff berth.
Has it been a difficult ride? Absolutely. The Rangers didn’t make it easy on us this year. But such is life in a lockout shortened season. There is less time for the law of averages to play out. The Rangers are built to be a playoff team, and they are getting hot at the right time. No one wants to face them in the first round, that’s for sure.