Apr
08

Rangers clinch playoff spot with Devils loss last night

April 8, 2014, by

Some people will call this “backing into” the playoffs, but with the Devils loss last night, the Rangers have officially clinched a playoff spot. I say some people call it backing in because the Rangers still have three games left, so it’s not like they needed the loss. It just helped them clinch sooner. The magic number to clinch a non-wild card seed is down to four on Columbus. The magic number to clinch home ice against the Flyers in round one is still at six.

As long as the Rangers get a #2 or #3 seed, they will guarantee that they will not meet the Bruins until the Conference Finals. Since a first round matchup with the Flyers is all but guaranteed at this point, it appears the road to the Stanley Cup Finals will begin against Philly, then head to Pittsburgh in the second round, and then finally to Boston for the Conference Finals. That, of course, assumes wins by the favorites in each round.

Remember that horrible start? It seems like a distant memory. The Rangers crawled out of the cellar to be one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. New York is also third in the conference in goal differential as well. This is a team that not many want to see in the postseason.

"Rangers clinch playoff spot with Devils loss last night", 5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings.
Categories : Playoffs

27 comments

  1. Steven Cifuentes says:

    So if the Bruins/Pens or any team that recently clinched got the X next to their name a couple weeks ago because another team lost, would it be said they backed in.

    They did not back in. Backing in, is if you have no games left to play and a team loses that gets you in. You cant say they backed in with 3 games left to handle their own business.

    Anyone saying Rangers backed in are just trying to minimize them getting in.

  2. Chris F says:

    Losing to Calgary and Ottawa and blowing a late lead and losing in Colorado doesn’t exactly lend itself to the notion that the Rangers are one of the hottest teams right now. They’ve been much better in the second half, and certainly went through a very hot streak, but at the moment they actually are looking quite uninspired and are suffering from 2 key injuries.

    They have hit a snag and need to figure it out and overcome quickly. This is not a team that looks poised to take on Pittsburgh and Boston.

    • Gary says:

      I think they are fine. Get Kreider and MacD back and they are better than fine. Get St. Louis scoring and better still.

      With the 4th line they have now, 3 scoring lines coming in waves and a stable D, it’s gonna come down to Hank being Hank. They can beat anyone if he lives up to his reputation. I still have my doubts after a season of routinely hearing Hank get the accolades while some schmo in the other net steals a game. That has to stop right now. We need an all world goalie because Price and Rask are going to be just that in the PO’s.

    • Walt says:

      Agree, and again I’ll state, even at the expense of pissing off a bunch of people, that we will be lucky to get out of the first round!!

      We need the Kreider kid back, we need for the Brass line to continue to score, we need for Nash to develope gonads, we need the relic MSL to super charge his wheel chair, and start scoring. Holy crap we need a load of things to happen to make a run, and I’m not sure that it will happen in time!!!!

      This is a brutal assesment, and I refuse to look through rosie colored glasses when it comes to this team. I’ve followed them since the late 50’s, and certain things never change. We all love the Rangers, and believe it or not, I bleed blue, but I live in realville, and too many of our readers are wearing blinders, and won’t admit it even if it hit them smack in the face!!

      Who said that teams don’t want to play us in the play-offs?? I believe that is horse sh*t.

      • LFOD Bleeding Blue in NH says:

        I get you are a fan through and through Walt, but your opinion of the team varies greatly from game to game depending on one W or L.

        I think those who feel differently are not necessarily being Pollyannas, but see that this team, aside from the past two games (a bad game vs a bad team and a loss vs a good team that was a result of bad play in the waning minute), have been playing great the past couple of months overall. This is with a St. Louis who hasn’t found his NY groove yet, but is certainly capable of doing so, and two key injuries that have had a big impact on the past couple of games, the biggest one being day to day and all but guaranteed for the playoffs, if not before then.

        One could also argue there are a couple of other players who have been a little off lately and this team could explode if everyone caught a spark at the right time. But even without all of this, they have been winning, and some of those wins against top teams.

        Not all is doom and gloom, and if I were a team in the east, I’d pick everyone but Boston to play against.

      • Spozo says:

        The Rangers are all but guaranteed to play the Flyers in round one. The only question is who has home ice advantage. You really think the rangers would be lucky to beat them and therefore would be the underdog in that series?

  3. Walt says:

    LFOD

    Thanks for your remark, but you fail to realize that all season long I have asked for a tougher team, with size, and skill. Slats goes out there and makes moves, gets us more smerfs, and gives away the future for them. Everyone now is upset that MSL isn’t scoring. I was a big fan of Callie, and if we were to loose him, I was in favor of Stewart, straight up, instead of the re-tread. I’ve never stated otherwise!

    Having grown up in NYC, the media is so biased, and always shines a bright light on this team as being great, every draft pick is a world beater, and will eventually get us a cup. After reading all the bull my entire life, enough is enough.

    You may disagree with me, and I respect your opinion as well, but even your last remark, “If I were a team in the east, I’d pick anyone other than Boston to play against”, at least you also see through the poo poo that we are a team to fear.

    I’ll pull for them as hard as anyone else on this site to go the distance. The 94 team made me cry when they lifted the cup, I want that again, and not have to wait 54 more years!! I also cried like a baby when we lost in 72, and 79, because I hate to loose, and for that I am consistant, and forever will be!! Have a great day my friend.

    • LFOD Bleeding Blue in NH says:

      I never had any doubt on how hard you would be rooting and for who 🙂

      The remark was meant to be the only team I would want to play less than NYR was Boston, and that NYR was the most dangerous behind them in the east.

      Vs any team in the west, it will take quite a bit of luck, Hank at his best, and team playing to its top level on lines 1 through 4, but that also goes for any team other than Boston (who I feel would also be an underdog to a west SCF team, but less of a dog).

      I love Cally too, shelled out the hundreds$$$ for a genuine jersey that I only feel normal in if I’m going to a game and did so as soon as he became a C (thinking not only was he my fav, but now guaranteed to be around for a very long time), and was more happy than usual after every win that involved him scoring. But once we were no longer the Black and Blue shirts (which we only were under a coach like Torts, for better or worse) his role on the team was very diminished.

      He showed his peak in offense, and seemed like he was starting to become an injury liability. In short, I make that MSL trade 9 out of 10 if the window is closing soon and he is making absurd demands.

      • AD says:

        LFOD you honestly believe the Rangers are more of a threat then the Penguins? Whoa, wish I could get there, but I can’t even get close. Tampa Bay and Montreal are no pushovers versus the Rangers, either. Statistically, those teams are stronger.

        Regarding Callahan, AV may have changed his role, but that doesn’t mean his performance has diminished. He seems to be producing quite nicely in Tampa in a role comparable to what he served in for the Rangers. This injury-liability issue with Callahan is also more a myth than reality: he’s played ~88% of all NHL games possible throughout his Rangers career. Pretty impressive given his style of play and stature.

        Time will tell on the MSL trade but, so far, on a short timeline, it’s been a poor trade for the Rangers, who we are told are designed to “win now.” I, too, would take the Chris Stewart straight up offer, or even the San Jose offer, 9 times out of 10 over the MSL trade. everyone seems to overlook the fact Tampa was in a tenuous position and MSL could have still been acquired this summer, so the Rangers could have had their cake and eaten it too, but Sather just had to have MSL this playoff run.

        It’s too bad the Rangers organization is gradually going “all-in” with an attempt to win the cup within two years; when we don’t accomplish that objective, our prospects will be few and the restructuring will delay that much longer the decisions that need to be made now.

        Same old, same old, unfortunately.

        • Chris A says:

          AD, the Penguins have an average to sub-par Goalie and, without Letang, one of the very worst D corps of all the playoff teams. They are a nice regular season team but not a serious contender.

          The Rangers may not have the firepower Pitt does but they have a far better team top to bottom.

          Also, Chris Stewart blew his knee out a week after the trade deadline so can we PLEASE stop beating that dead horse.

          • AD says:

            Those are interesting and subjective views you have Chris.

            Objectively, the data shows Fleury with comparable stats to Hank; not a sub-par goalie. Objectively, the data also shows the Pens defense as comparable to the Rangers, having given up a whopping 7 more goals over 80 games. Hardly the worst D corps of all playoff teams. Objectively, the Pens firepower, which you seem to dismiss easily, includes 4 players who score at a clip head and shoulders above what any Rangers forward is doing. Objectively, the Pens’ goals differential is 4th in the entire league, whereas the Rangers are 9th.

            But why let a few facts get in the way of things, right?

            If you contact the bookies in Vegas, I am sure you can find a dozen bookies willing to let you express your views on this with your wallet. 😉

            • LFOD Bleeding Blue in NH says:

              RE the numbers, sure, but Fleury has shown he typically has melt downs of Hextallian proportions in the playoffs, and once he goes down that road, he falls apart.

              It seems that in the past couple of years, the Pens have been dispatched by the Flyers/Boston rather handily, and even the Isles took them to a Game 6 OT in last year’s first round (when they were also considered super scary offensively). They have a lot of fire power, but, in the playoffs especially, they tend to rely on it solely and wind up being let down.

              We shall see, I agree on paper they are the more talented team by a fair amount (on offense), but I don’t see them as scary. I could wind up being very wrong on this, but they just haven’t seen to have the playoff fire and defense required for a couple of seasons.

              • AD says:

                I do understand where you are coming from. The Pens are perhaps too dependent upon a few key players and seem to tail off sharply after them. So a team that can contain those players (which means they get their goals but do not dominate games) does have a shot. I get it. The problem is this is easier said than done and we have not looked good versus the Pens (3 – 6 last nine games/two seasons).

                Personally, my rankings are Boston/Pens/Montreal then toss-up between Rangers and Tampa; so we really need to worry about Pittsburgh to get to the conference finals and presumably face Boston. I think they manhandle us though, unfortunately.

            • Chris A says:

              Those aren’t statistics that are predictive or indicative of anything. All you are talking about is goals, goals are a function of luck not competency.

              All you proved is that the Penguins are a more fortunate team than the Rangers. Compared to Pittsburgh the Rangers are the vastly superior possession team and the Rangers win total suffers thanks to the Rangers sporting an unusually low shooting percentage, 6.2% – Ranked 27th, at 5v5 in close games (close games are when the two teams are tied or separated by one goal).

              And if you want to bring Vegas into this they seem to think the difference between the two squads isn’t that great either. Rangers are 8-1 to get out of the East vs Pitt’s 7-2 (Boston is virtually Even money). I would be very curious to see how close those lines become after the first round, assuming Pittsburgh gets past Detroit.

              • AD says:

                Now you have completely lost me: goals are a function of luck, not competency? I must be misundertsanding what you are saying, right?

                Possession is important but means little if you do not have the competence to execute the final act of putting the puck in the net. The Rangers, for all their puck possession, have a very poor shooting percentage, and are also average, at best, 5v5 when most playoff games are won or lost.

                Goals are a function of luck, not competence? Really?

              • Chris A says:

                AD, You know who else thinks Puck Possession isn’t indicative of anything? Toronto’s Front Office. Sure, they got lucky last year and rode a wave of unsustainable shooting percentage into the playoffs, but look what happened this year, the bottom fell out. Toronto was essentially eliminated a week ago.

                Maybe luck is too strong a word, Goals are a function of randomness. In other words, all a team can do is create a chance for a shot, what happens after that is random. The goalie may make a save he may not, the shot may hit the pipe it may not. A team that gets a steady stream of shot attempts, or even better – out shoots its opponent each game, is a team that will win more often than it loses in the long run.

        • Walt says:

          AD

          Well stated, agree 100%, especially the fact that we would have had the draft picks, in what is being described as a deep draft, and gotton MSL this summer, if so desired. It just burns my tail to think we let Tampa pull highway robbery on us, it stinks!!!!

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Walt, I will tell you this… I honestly don’t know if MSL will get his game going this season. At the time of the trade, I thought integration would be seamless. Up to this point it has been anything but. His extremely consistent scoring abilities have pretty much vanished. Will he get going in the post season, when we need him most? I still think that he will succeed, help turn a series and prove to be the player we knew we were getting. It is very possible that I am wrong and we see the same player for 3 more reg season games and however many playoff games we last.

      If that is the case (which, again, I don’t think it will be) I can guarantee you this. After getting settled in, training in the off season and coming to camp next year with the rest of the team however it shapes up….he WILL be very much himself. He WILL have a successful 2014/15 season where he WILL vie for the team lead in points. That, I guarantee you.

      It doesn’t have to do with all of NYR former busts like Lindros, Bure, Gomez, Holik, etc. I know you don’t agree, but that stuff is COMPLETELY UNRELATED. What history you can draw upon here is players, big name players, being traded to other teams mid season/ at the deadline and having delayed returns. Look no further than our divisional rivals and there acquisition of James Neal.

      He was comfortable in Dallas with 24 goals in 77 games, 27 goals in 78 games and then 21 goals in 59 games in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons respectively. In that 2010/11 season he was traded to Pittsburgh and went on to score 1, I repeat 1 (ONE) goal in the final 20 games with the Pens. Sound familiar? Well, give the guy an off season to get acclimated and a full camp with his new club and he is back to his old ways with 40g/80gp 21g/40gp and 24g/56gp the past 3 seasons including this one.

      Side note here, I absolutely despise J. Neal, but it is a very relevant story.

      I won’t type another case study out but look at Jerome Iginla also, and how he didn’t work out with Pittsburgh last year as a deadline deal, but signed with the Bruins in the off-season, went through camp with them and is killing it this year.

      You think age has to do with this? Look at Jagr not meet expectations as a deadline acquisition with the Bruins last year after a successful year in Dallas. Again, what happened this offseason? He signed with the Devils, went through a full training camp and is pretty much their entire offense this year.

      Don’t underestimate how hard it is for teams to change their composition on the fly and down the stretch. A big ticket guy walks in a locker room and things are expected to fall into place. In most cases it doesn’t happen that way. Would a better time for a Cally/MSL swap have been this offseason? Hindsight, probably…but to know we will need to see what happens beginning next week.

      And, to reiterate, regardless of what happens this post season, MSL WILL COME TO LIFE next year. That doesn’t get us our draft picks back, but we all see Sather has identified our time as a 3ish year window, or basically as long as Hank continues to dominate. So in his view, he would rather have the best pieces in place to compete now. The pipeline is secondary for teams who are trying to ‘win now’.

      Sorry for the novel, but please consider the above examples as evidence that this season is not an adequate, fair or responsible time frame to judge MSL as a fit on Broadway. If next year doesn’t work out, I’ll eat my words…but I’m basically telling you I won’t have to.

      • Walt says:

        Hatrick

        All sound points, except Neal is how old vs MSL?

        Jagr is an exception to any rule, at 40 years of age, and still playing this well. How many Gordie Howes, Jagr’s are there in the world?

        Igilna also is how much younger than MSL. Marty looked great with Stamkos, but his best days are in his rear view mirror, and the price paid was way too high.

        Again, I will grant you did make some solid points, and time will prove one of us to be right, or wrong!!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          The only problem with your age argument is that MSL was at the top of his game at the time of the trade. He was fresh off of the year where he led the league in points (reigning Art Ross winner) and was point per game through 60 some games this year.

          All indications are that he has more good hockey left in him. I’ll maintain that establishing comfort and familiarity are paramount for him to return to his scoring ways. Of course, Stamkos helped his totals, but let’s not forget that Stammer went down for significant time this year, and MSL kept scoring in bunches while playing with 2 rookies.

      • AD says:

        I fully agree; MSL will be a stud for the Rangers for atleast a couple of years, but not this season and quite possibly this playoffs.

        But, we could have acquired him this summer at a cheaper price as well. Just poor strategy and decision by Sather.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          For sure can’t disagree, at all.

          One factor though which plays in, is that Callahan’s value to TB would have probably been 0 at the deadline. Insider’s speculation is that they have no intention of signing him for what he is asking. Of course that could change, but there is no evidence they’d want him as a piece at all this summer with no contract in place. So the question would be- what would MSL’s cost be at that point? What roster player would we hae had to include?

          But, time wise, I’m with you and Walt, that the summer probably would have been the ideal time to strike a deal of this magnitude.

          That said, I couldn’t tell you if right now I’d rather have MSL or Callahan in our line up in the playoffs. Either one of them could be tremendous difference makers.

          • Walt says:

            One thing you fail to consider, MSL wanted out of Tampa, and wanted to come here, with no other team even being considered. That said, he would have come cheap because do you really want an unhappy camper in your locker?????

  4. paulronty says:

    As I said before it is quite common for players to struggle after being traded within season and we had our own example with Esa Tikkanen. If the Rangers D is healthy & with the King in net, we can even give Boston a run. Boston is a team where we need a guy like McIlrath to punch Lucic in the face to get things established because they will try to intimidate. Now I know that isn’t going to happen so it will have to be Carcillo. You have to get on Marchand & Lucic, pester them, harrass them & goad them into undisciplined play. It can be done. As for MSL, playoffs are a new start and I expect him to ramp it up. I loved Cally, but I don’t even think about him anymore. To me he is now the enemy.

    • AD says:

      I hope you are right Paul but I see close to 0% chance the Rangers can give Boston a run. Isn’t our record versus Boston the past 10 games or so something like 2 W 8 L?

      We’ve lost our edge with Boston; they will win 4-0, 4-1 in a playoff matchup if we get that far. Again, hope you are right though.

  5. cv19 says:

    “Backing in” means season ends on a losing streak and teams chasing you have to get beat for you to survive. The Rangers haven’t exactly played poorly the last few weeks.