Tonight the Rangers begin their first of four games against the Devils. Rivalry week has taken on a new meeting, as COVID has forced this unusual quirk in the schedule. The good news for the Rangers is that the Devils are pretty bad and just traded two of their top forwards. The bad news is that for the Rangers to remain relevant in the playoff race, they need to sweep all four games against the Devils. It doesn’t matter how, but they need eight points.
Point projections over the past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/Kri7DvoWyC
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) April 12, 2021
As it stands today, the Rangers project to finish eight points out of a playoff spot. While these are just projections, the Rangers can do a lot to help their own cause. Specifically, winning enough games to get to 69 points would help them control their own destiny.
They need a lot of wins in a row
At 44 points currently, the Rangers need 25 points over their final 15 games to get to 69 points. Going 12-3 gets them 24 points, which is a tie with Boston in pace. That can be good enough, as the Rangers have a two game set with the Bruins to close out the season. Getting within three points difference by those two games is the real goal.
Doing the math, the Rangers would need to get to 65 points (+21 points) over the next 13 games. A record of 10-2-1 gets them there. Anything more is gravy. If the Rangers manage that, and assuming Boston doesn’t go on a run, then it will come down to those last two games of the season.
To go 10-2-1, a team needs to get on a run. With four games against the lowly Devils, it’s the prime opportunity to go on that run. The Rangers have six easily winnable games (these four, plus two against Buffalo) in that span. If they win all six, then it’s going 4-2-1 in seven games:
- Three vs NYI
- Two vs WSH
- Two vs PHI
With Philly struggling, that’s very doable.
The Rangers do in fact control a portion of their destiny this season, but it begins and ends with eight points and a sweep against the Devils. Even seven leaves them with very little wiggle room. Anything less makes it a tall order. We can certainly explain away certain scenarios, but the Rangers control it themselves right now. Get eight points and control your destiny. Otherwise you leave things to chance.