Just off a delayed flight from Detroit, and while on board, had some time to assess the rest of the regular season.
Six of the last seven games have been decided by a goal, and that seventh, in Montreal, ended 2-0 with an empty-netter. Your Blueshirts are not getting their doors blown off. They’ve been close. Couple timely PP goals and this discussion and analysis has a different flavor.
Way I see it, if the Rangers can win their 30th game (presumably with Henrik Lundqvist in net) and secure two points in Atlanta on Friday---thus coming home with 64---they have a fairly favorable travel schedule in the last 25 games.
Thirty more points, to reach 94, should be enough to claim a playoff spot in the East.
Fourteen of the 25 games are at Madison Square Garden, where the Blueshirts are 4-4-2 in the last 10. Last three games of season are on Broadway, in fact. Is it possible to secure 17 points, by going, say 7-4-3? Taking control at the Garden and feeding off the crowd is a absolute must. And if they make the playoffs, it’s unlikely that they’ll have home-ice advantage in the post-season and will open with two games on the road.
Eleven of the final games are away games, including a two-city, early March, West Coast trip, with two full days between the Anaheim and San Jose games. Not grueling. Yes, after a strong start on the road, the Rangers have lost four of six. But five of the last 11 are commuter trips: Newark, Philadelphia, Uniondale, Boston, Washington. Is 5-5-1 doable? Think so. That’s 28.
Another two points somehow should allow the Rangers to join the post-season party, although it might serve them well to avoid the eighth spot and presumably have to face Philadelphia in the first round.