Last night presented the worst possible scenario for the Rangers. They lost, didn’t look good in the loss, didn’t get a point, and the Flyers won. Now, the Rangers are three points out of a playoff spot with three games to play. They play their game in hand on the Flyers tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers absolutely must get at least one point in this game, or their playoff hopes all but vanish, as they will not be able to catch the Flyers in the standings (they hold the tiebreaker in wins). Despite the urgency, the Rangers are in the rare position that they still control their own fate.
The Rangers, in short, need a miracle. This miracle begins and ends with tonight’s game against Toronto. Should the Rangers come away with at least a point, then they can clinch the playoffs by sweeping Philly in the home-and-home Friday and Sunday. This is the best case scenario, as it means the Rangers still control their own fate.
Should the Rangers come up short against Toronto, then they will need a miracle of biblical proportions. They will no longer be able to catch the Flyers, but they will still be able to catch the Bruins, with some help from the Northeast Division. Again, the Rangers would need to sweep the Flyers in the home-and-home, but the Bruins would also need to lose their remaining three games (vs. Buf, vs. Car, @ Was), while getting a maximum of one point in those games. A single win, or two overtime losses would spell the end of the Rangers season.
The Rangers still control their own fate, and three wins in a row would cement their standing in the postseason. That is no tall task though. The Leafs are playing much better of late, and will not just roll over for the Rangers. Then there are those Flyers, who are also fighting for their playoff lives. Those two games against the cavemen could get very ugly. For now though, the Rangers need to concentrate on Toronto, and two points.