After winning six out of their last seven games, the Rangers are five points ahead of ninth-place Carolina, two points ahead of ninth-place Buffalo and two points behind sixth-place Montreal (with a game in hand). Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to 8. Any combination of eight points gained by the Rangers or lost by the ninth-place team would guarantee them a postseason spot, regardless of tiebreakers.
With six games left, the Rangers could guarantee themselves a playoff spot by going 4-2-0 or 3-1-2 the rest of the way.
Below is a look at the standings and the games remaining for the Rangers, Hurricanes and Sabres as the three teams battle for positioning.
|Outside looking in|
GAMES REMAINING (key games in italics)
Rangers, Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Columbus.
Montreal, Islanders, Buffalo, Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa Bay.
Buffalo, Islanders, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, New Jersey.
A team's tragic number decreases when they fail to gain a point or when the eighth place team adds a point. When the number reaches zero, the team is eliminated from playoff contention.
Carolina - 10
Toronto - 6
Atlanta - 4
New Jersey - 3
Islanders - ELIMINATED
Florida - ELIMINATED
Ottawa - ELIMINATED