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Projected Eastern Conference Finish: 9th
There will be probably 11 teams fighting for eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, including the Rangers.
Of those 11, six should be ahead of the Rangers in terms of standings—the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Because the top three teams per division are guaranteed spots, this will also make it harder for the Rangers to grab a spot. The Red Wings, Bruins, Canadiens, Senators and Maple Leafs are all in the Atlantic Division.
Thus, the Rangers will be competing with the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers as well as the Senators and Maple Leafs for the final few spots.
While anything could happen—injuries and trades in particular—at the moment, the Rangers seem to be on the outside looking in. Columbus improved markedly, and the Islanders are one of the most promising young teams in the league.
Those two teams are ahead of the Rangers, meaning that the Blueshirts will be spending the postseason on the sidelines.