After three wins in a row, including a pair against Buffalo, the playoffs were back on the menu for the Rangers. It’s still unlikely, but the Rangers can still technically catch the Islanders in the standings. The Islanders are five points ahead and have one game in hand. However they do face the Rangers twice in the next three days. For the Rangers to have any hopes of catching the Islanders, they need to sweep this series.
There is no other realistic scenario in which the Rangers can catch the Islanders. And even with a sweep, it’s still unlikely. The Islanders have Buffalo twice then the Devils twice after their set with the Rangers. Even if the Rangers sweep the Isles, their game in hand is against those two teams. Do you see the Islanders losing both to the Rangers, and then losing at least one more in that four game set? I don’t. All we can do is hope.
Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.
In addition to the Rangers sweeping the Isles, and the Isles dropping at least one in their four games after, the Rangers need to surprise a few people in their remaining games. They close out the season with sets against Washington and Boston. A 2-2 split won’t cut it here. They need to take two against at least one of them.
Playing this out, if the Rangers get four wins in their last six, they finish with 66 points. That won’t cut it. Even if two of the wins are against the Isles. Five wins gets them to 68 points, and that might do it. But again, they need to sweep the Islanders. There are very few scenarios where the Rangers catch the Islanders without a sweep. This is a true must win game for the Rangers.