I have a feeling that the title of this post is going to draw a lot of ire across Rangerland. After all, I’m clearly jinxing them, and now the team is going to lose all ten remaining games and miss out. But let’s just get this out of the way: This team is headed to the playoffs barring an epic collapse. SportsClubStats has them at 94.4% for making the playoffs, so at this point they are just jockeying for position.
Why is that percentage so high? For starters, New York has a three point lead on the Washington Capitals with ten games remaining. Certainly not a lock, but the Rangers the tiebreaker (ROW) on the Caps, so they would need to gain four more points than our Blueshirts in the next ten games to take over the three seed. Possible, but not probable. Columbus, who has a game in hand on the Rangers/Caps, are four points out. The Rangers have the tiebreaker on them as well.
But of course, it is possible the Rangers lose a lot of games and miss the playoffs. Using SportsClubStats as the barometer here, the Rangers would need to go 3-6-1 to have less than a 50% chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Again, very possible, especially when you consider the inconsistent nature of the club over the past year. That’s where the cupcake schedule comes in.
The Rangers have exactly three games remaining against playoff teams (Philly, Colorado, Montreal), and one against a team (Phoenix) still in the hunt. The other six games: Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Carolina, Buffalo. Even a .500 record gets them to the 92 point pace that pretty much solidifies a playoff spot.
It’s been an interesting year for the Rangers. They seem to have long win streaks followed by long I-forgot-how-to-play-hockey streaks. Despite the roller coaster ride of a season, this team is where they should be: In a great spot heading into the home stretch. A clinch is in sight, and then the real fun will begin.