Top wild card all but guaranteed for RangersMarch 15, 2017, by
As of Tuesday night, the Rangers sit four points back of the third place Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metro Division. Columbus has a pair of games in hand as well. Per Sports Club Stats, their chances of getting that coveted top wild card spot is at 91%. There is still a chance the Rangers get into the top three in the division, but it’s a slim one.
What that means for the Rangers is a date with either Montreal, whom they have not beaten this season, or Ottawa. The Sens are two points back of the Habs with two games in hand, so that division is still wide open. Either opponent is easier than any of the three-headed monster in the Metro, though.
Many, including myself, were hoping the Rangers would get that WC1 spot. A good percentage of that group –not including me– wanted them to lose to grab it. Perhaps this is the best case scenario, where they don’t need to throw a game to secure it.
The security of being in the playoffs and seemingly locked into a seed gives the Rangers a bunch of options down the stretch. With this many injuries to key players, they are afforded the opportunity to rest some of their veterans down the stretch. This is a risk-free approach, as they are not tempting fate.
Perhaps it’s a time to get Henrik Lundqvist, who appears to be ready to return from his lower-body injury, some additional rest. Or since he was out for a week, maybe they give him a few stress free games to get him back in the groove.
With one month and twelve games remaining, this is also a good time for fans. We can watch the games without throwing things at the TV or yelling at a player that can’t hear us from our couch. I, for one, will enjoy the one month of stress-free hockey before I get more grey hair.
Or I just jinxed it.