If the Rangers want to make the playoffs, then they're going to need their best players to come up big.
That starts with Henrik Lundqvist. He has been on fire of late, with a .948 save percentage in the month of April.
Lundqvist has his typically great stats on the year, with a stingy 2.06 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. For comparison, when he won the Vezina Trophy last season, he had a .930 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average. In fact, his numbers make this the second-best season of his illustrious career.
If he can continue to play like this, then there's no reason why the Rangers wouldn't make the playoffs. He is the ultimate key for this team's success—he always has been, and he always will be.
Rick Nash has been everything the Rangers have hoped for and more. He has 35 points in 37 games and has five points in the month of April. If he continues to play well, then the Rangers will be on track for the playoffs.
The defense, as a whole, has been terrific this year.
The team gives up only 2.2 goals per game, which is fourth best in the league. They've done that even without Marc Staal, who is out indefinitely with an eye injury. Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh have been terrific, and Steve Eminger, who has filled in for Staal, has been a huge boon for this team.
Michael Del Zotto has improved his defensive play, while Anton Stralman has been solid. New addition John Moore has had ups and downs, but he is a good skater.
If the defense can continue its top play for the rest of the season, then the team should make the playoffs. If it plays poorly, like it has in two recent games against Toronto, then the Rangers will have to hope for some high-scoring games.
That's a problem, because the Rangers average only 2.3 goals per game, which is 25th in the league. That's why the Rangers defense needs to finish the season strong and play more like it did in the last game against the Islanders, where it did not let up a goal.