Going forward, the Rangers and Flyers are going to have to make some changes.
For the Rangers, they are going to need to improve the bottom six of their lineup. Whether that is through a trade, or through a minor league call-up, the Rangers need more energy, grit and scoring from that part of their lineup.
They need more consistent production from players not named Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan. The easiest way for this to be accomplished is for Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards to get back playing the consistent hockey they're used to.
If they cannot do that, then a trade may be in order. The Rangers don't need another superstar—they just need consistency.
As for the Flyers, it's quite simple—they need to get their defensive game in order. It's up to Ilya Bryzgalov to play like he did in Phoenix, where he posted a .920 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average in 2009-10. If he can do that, and play to his capabilities, then the Flyers could start to make some headway.
Staying healthy is important too, and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere need to find their games. If they can, that will take pressure off of Claude Giroux, who will then have more ice to make plays.
These changes are not incredibly difficult. We've seen flashes of these teams playing to their potential, but it just hasn't been consistent. Whether it's a major trade, or even a quality depth one, something needs to change for these teams to reach their potential.
The Rangers are in a better position than the Flyers, because they have the better goaltending and defense. Henrik Lundqvist is putting in another typical season and the team is giving up only 2.37 goals per game, which is fifth-best in the league. If their offense can get in order, then there's no reason that they can't make the playoffs.
The Flyers are in a bit of a deeper hole. For one, they are much further back in the standings. Also, it's more likely that the Rangers will start to score more goals than Ilya Bryzgalov will start to stop more shots. Bryzgalov has been bad for the past two seasons now, and the defense in front of him is much better. Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards are proven stars who know how to put the puck in the back of the net.
There's still time for both teams to put it together and make a run for the playoffs and beyond. But if they continue their current ways, they'll both have an earlier summer than expected.