Fresh off of back-to-back loses against Montreal and St. Louis, the Rangers find themselves outside the playoffs looking in. They're not just outside the door, they’re in a taxi driving uptown (but still within viewing distance).
They’re moving out of view quickly though, so I thought now would be a good time to take a look at the standings to see exactly how fast they are driving away.
Rangers current record : 31-31-9, 71 points, 9th place, 11 games remaining.
Bruins current record : 31-27-12, 74 points, 8th place, 12 games remaining.
Best Possible Ranger record : 42-31-9, 93 points.
Best Possible Bruins record : 43-27-12, 98 points.
If the Rangers finish 4-4-3 : 35-35-12, 82 points.
If the Bruins finish 4-4-4 : 35-31-14, 86 points.
Thoughts: What this is telling me is that the Rangers have a slim chance at making the playoffs, but they are desperate for points. Figuring very conservatively, the Bruins are likely to pick up at least 12 points, unless they really tank. That means the Rangers would have to finish with at least 16 out of their final 22 points.
An 8-3-0 record could accomplish that, which is possible, but unlikely, for this Rangers team. They could also finish 7-1-2 which is also possible, but highly unlikely.
There are also the Trashers to be concerned with. They are currently tied for ninth place with the Rangers, as both teams have 71 points. The tricky part for the Rangers is that Atlanta has 12 games left compared to the Rangers' 11.
Despite the fact that their are 11 games left, everyone seems to be giving up on the Rangers. There is probably good reason for that, but it isn’t over yet. Realistically, all three teams are going to play about .500 hockey the rest of the season. If the Rangers can put together eight wins (unrealistic, I know) they can control their own destiny.
The problem for them is that if either the Bruins or the Thrashers plays better than .500 hockey the Rangers are screwed.
The Rangers need wins, and tomorrow’s game against the Bruins is definitely their biggest game they have to play this season. They need a win, and, more importantly, they need a regulation win. That would put them just one point behind Boston and with 10 games left. It’s certainly possible.