With every loss, the New York Rangers allow the Florida Panthers that much more room to take the eighth playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Standing at 40-30-9, the Blueshirts need every point they can get out of the three grueling match-ups they have coming up. Florida, at 38-29-11, are two points behind the Rangers with a game in hand.
However, the Panthers also have difficult opponents in the Capitals, streaking Thrashers, Flyers, and Penguins. This could provide a challenge for either team, and with the Rangers still in eighth, they need to win at least two or their last three.
The major concern for these particular teams and eventually the playoffs is the anemic offense. Even with Lundqvist at his best, the Rangers have to find ways to score, especially on the man advantage. If they can couple a strong, consistent offense with Lundqvist's outstanding goaltending, they might just find a way to finish this season with a playoff berth.