5 Reasons the New York Rangers Will Make the NHL Playoffs

Mathias AskCorrespondent IIFebruary 28, 2013

5 Reasons the New York Rangers Will Make the NHL Playoffs

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    Despite their current slump, the New York Rangers have every opportunity to make the playoffs.

    The Blueshirts have lost four straight games and find themselves three points behind No. 8 Philadelphia Flyers as the season is nearing in on the halfway mark.

    18 points in 18 games was not what the Rangers, who grabbed the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, were expecting when the current season started.

    However, the season is far from over and there are plenty of reasons why the New York Rangers can make it to the postseason.

The Rangers Have Plenty of Games to Spare

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    With the exception of the Boston Bruins’ 16 games, the Rangers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the fewest games played with 18.

    Most of the teams surrounding New York in the standings have played one or two more games than them.

    The Rangers may be three points behind Philadelphia, but the Flyers have played a total of 22 games. Even if the Rangers only win two of those games, they still surpass the Flyers.

    Surely it’s not a guarantee that the Rangers are going to win those games, but it’s comforting to know that the opportunity will present itself.

The Competition Isn’t as Stiff as It Sounds

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    If you have only followed the Rangers through the prism of the New York media and blogs, you would think that they were completely out of the playoff picture and stand with no chance of overtaking the competition.

    To tell you the truth, the teams that the Rangers will most likely battle with for the rest of the season have just as many question marks.

    Over the past 10 games, Philadelphia and Winnipeg are 5-5-0, while Tampa Bay is 3-6-1. That’s not much more impressive than the Rangers’ 4-4-2 is it?

    These teams have all conceded 60 goals or more, and their inability to play great defense will hurt them down the line.

The Rangers Will Be Competitive Once They’re Healthy

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    The Rangers have had a lot of bad luck when it comes to injuries so far. Currently, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh are listed (per ESPN.com) as day-to-day while Rick Nash is on the injured reserve.

    Losing key players to injuries have been the Rangers’ biggest problems all season. The current four game losing streak has come in Nash’s absence and the Blueshirts are clearly suffering from the loss their star left winger.

    The Rangers truly have a talented offense team with Nash, Gaborik, Callahan, and Richards as well as so many others. Once they all return, the Rangers’ true colors will show and they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Henrik Lundqvist Will Take Them to the Promised Land

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    It’s almost getting tiresome to always mention Henrik Lundqvist in these things, but we have to for the simple reason that he’s the best goaltender in the league.

    Where would the Rangers be if it wasn’t for King Henrik?

    The Rangers have struggled offensively but defensively they have been great. In 18 games, they’ve conceded just 48 goals. Lundqvist has led the charge and played outstandingly for the past couple of games.

    When King Henrik plays the way he does, it opens up opportunities for the offense. All they need is a little spark and then the Rangers will be climbing in the standings.

The Rangers Have the Garden

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    Despite all their early season woes, the Rangers have been solid at home this season. Their 6-4-1 record is nothing to be ashamed off.

    Any team heading to Madison Square Garden to play them knows what it’s getting itself into.

    The Rangers have an important three-game homestand coming up, starting with Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and continuing with Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.

    By next Tuesday, the Rangers could be in the No. 8 seed and still have played one less game than the Flyers.