State of the Rangers

What do the NY Rangers need to do to make the 2021 playoffs?

The 2021 NHL season is at its halfway point, and the Rangers are sitting in 6th in the East with 28 points. At the start of the season, the playoffs were certainly a possibility, but many things had to go right for that to happen. So far, only one or two of those things have gone right. The playoffs aren’t out of the question, but they are slipping away quickly. There aren’t many games left to make up ground, so what do the NY Rangers need to do to make the 2021 playoffs?

As of the writing of this post, the Rangers are eight points behind the Bruins for 4th in the division. The Flyers are between them with 33 points in 5th place. This year the playoffs are different, and the top four teams will make the playoffs. There are no wild cards. So the Rangers will need to pass both teams to do so.

The Bruins are on a 72 point pace through 56 games. Using that pace, the Rangers will need to finish with 73 points. This means the Rangers need 45 points in their remaining 28 games this season. This is an extremely tall order at 1.6 points per game. Even an average of three points every two games doesn’t get them there. The Rangers need to go on a long win streak.

Without factoring in the loser point, even a 20-8 record doesn’t get the job done. They’d need to go 21-7, which gets them to 72 points. Is this doable? Sure. Is it likely? Probably not. But crazier things have happened, and they could happen with a healthy Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin.

Of their 28 remaining games, nine of them are against Buffalo and the Devils. It goes without saying that the Rangers need to win all nine of those games. That leave 19 games against teams ahead of them.

  • Six games against Washington
  • Four games against the Flyers
  • Two games against the Penguins
  • Five games against the Isles
  • Two games against the Bruins to close out the season

Going 12-7 against those teams might guarantee them a spot, with 11-8 leaving them under the 72 point threshold. The big games are those two against Boston to close out the season, as they are four-point games and it’s assumed the Rangers will need to win both.

It we assume the Rangers do win both against Boston, then it’s a 10-7 record against the Caps, Flyers, Penguins, and Isles. All this to get to the 72 points that *might* get them into the playoffs. This is a lot for a team that has been wildly inconsistent all year.

The Rangers control their own destiny at the moment, but they need a lot of things to go right for them. Six points a night from Mika Zibanejad is certainly a start. For now, the NY Rangers have an outside shot at making the 2021 playoffs. For now.

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  • This Rangers team is very puzzling. On some nights they look awesome while on others they look like they are playing a free-for-all game. I believe the team does well when they pay attention to the defense and the back checking is quick/strong. The Rangers can score but when they encounter tight defense from the opposition they need to do the same. If the team can manage consistency in their game plan they may be able to make the playoffs

  • There’s nothing about what the Rangers have shown so far this season that would leave us to believe they have a chance. A healthy Shersterkin is the number one requirement, and that’s a huge unknown right now.

    Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. The playoffs weren’t even a stated goal for the team coming in to this season per the President of the team. What matters is they continue to get better, especially their young players and *improve their consistency* as a team. Next year the expectations and stakes will be raised.

    • Finally a smart and level headed ranger fan. I do disagree, there are games that they look elite and weren’t getting the bounces. They just do not doit enough.

  • Team needs a 6-8 game winning streak for starters as it will become increasingly difficult to make up points during the latter part of this season…The winning streak needs to start right now ….. secondly Igor…… must be healthy and be relevant….. thirdly….. Zibs has to get hotter than the other night meaning consistently score…4….Pray……

  • It’s all about consistency I feel like the team needs that kick in the butt each night to keep em going, keep working hard, some games they look great and some games they look lost ! LGR !

  • All my hopes are dashed. We are not making the playoffs. We need to use the remainder of this year as a springboard for next year. Get the kids up here to get some NHL minutes. That means Kraftsov, Barron and others as well as giving top 6 minutes to both Kakko and LaFren.

  • Tall order indeed! The only other piece to this would be if one or two of the teams above them hit a losing streak. So far, it feels like most teams are bearing the ones they should most of the time. The Flyers could very well fall apart to some degree. But other than them, I’m not really counting on the Caps, Bruins, or Isles to really fall down too much. The Penguins are 50/50 on my book, but I expect them to fluctuate a bit like the Flyers. Maybe the NYR catch them, but I think it’s a stretch.

    I don’t expect DQ to coach any differently. But I would love to see him really ride the kids if things get bleak. Take the lumps this year if we hit a bad streak and it’s a big stretch to make the Playoffs. That means putting the left-handed Kakko or Laf on the PP1 line to open up more one-timer opportunities, getting Kravstov involved w/o sticking him with Howden, getting more looks at Reunanen and giving Barron a few games, and just generally giving them all important minutes.

    This young group is more talented than the previous core that brought us to the Finals recently. They’re just young and inconsistent.

    • True about the losing streak but the weird thing about this all division schedule year is that one or two teams losing streak means other teams in the division are feasting (IE Islanders BS 10 game win streak with 7 of those games coming against the Sabre’s and Devils). If the Flyers or somebody else collapse other teams will inevitably cash in too right?

      I’m not nearly smart enough to figure this out exactly, but I get the impression that we need the right teams to be winning and losing at any given time to help us. Since were all just playing each other 4 teams in the division will be getting 2 points every night and some may even be getting one here and there, so it will be tricky.

      Here’s hoping they just keep up the good play and make it interesting!

  • This assumes we need 73 points because we’re also assuming that all the teams in front of us will continue winning games at their current pace — that’s all well and good, but we also need to account for the possibility that some teams might not be able to do so. Especially in a shortened season like this one where injuries and Covid issues can have disproportionate impact on teams — and we’ve seen how it has influenced our own team with Mika’s production, the effect of Chytil’s injury on our center depth, the loss of Trouba requiring us to dig deeper into our pool of defensemen than anyone should be comfortable with.

    Of course all of the above was heightened by non-injury/covid issues like Panarin’s hit piece and ADA’s “team issues”, but the point is circumstances surrounding both the Flyers and Boston may provide us with a better opportunity to make the playoffs than we assume. I’m not suggesting it’s “likely” or even probable, but it’s certainly possible.

    • Unfortunately, counting on someone stumbling is an issue if you are really only talking about one team – Boston. The Islanders and Washington are so far ahead at this point and half the penguin games are against Buffalo and New Jersey. So the Rangers must pass BOTH Boston and Philadelphia. Philadelphia is looking shaky and not too far ahead, but counting on what is perhaps the best team in the division to struggle more than they have already struggled seems unrealistic.

      • I disagree. Boston is not what they use to be — talk about a team that is dependent on 1 line doing the majority of their scoring (this year). With few exceptions most teams are a couple of players away from being .500 or a tad better.

        Again, as I stated: “I’m not suggesting it’s “likely” or even probable, but it’s certainly possible.”

  • Much depends on the next two games. 3 pts makes the team a believer.Growth in confidence leads to better outcomes. Zero pts and start working for next year

  • If the Rangers make the playoffs I’d be pleased, but that is really not what this season is about. The goal, I believe, is to get better and develop the young players that they have and see what they can do. If that gets them to the playoffs, then that is great. If they don’t get there it isn’t a bad outcome. Rather it was expected.

  • The Playoffs( and another quick exit), should not be the goal this year. Getting Igor healthy, looking at Kravtsov, and giving meaningful minutes to Kakko and Lafreniere should be the main goals entering the second half. Next year is the year they begin to make the move to contender……..its a process that can’t be rushed.

  • Who’s says the Rangers don’t pick it up, finally, and the Bruins and Flyers faulter it’s happened. I have faith, but that’s why I watch. One day, soon, today?, tomorrow?, 2years? This is going to be a scary good team. I can’t wait! LGR!

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