The way into the playoffs couldn't sound any simpler: Win the last three games of the season, and you're in.
It sounds easy. Any sports fan knows, of course, that it's anything but.
The Rangers final three games are against Boston, Atlanta and New Jersey respectively. That's no easy task, especially since Boston needs wins if they want to grab the two seed while Atlanta and New Jersey will look to play spoiler against a Rangers team who beat them both down the stretch.
The Devils will be an especially difficult game for the Rangers, especially after they were eliminated from the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens.
For New York, simply making the playoffs should be priority number one, but they shouldn't lose sight of the opportunity to move forward. Here is the playoff picture as it stands currently:
6) Montreal - 91 points 93 games left) (39 ROW)
7) Buffalo - 90 points (3 games left) (35 ROW)
8) NY Rangers - 89 points (3 games left) (33 ROW)
9) Carolina - 87 points (3 games left) (33 ROW)
The Rangers obviously need to worry about Carolina, who's overtime loss to Buffalo put a dent into its playoff hopes, but didn't oust them from contention.
Since both the Rangers and Hurricanes have the same number of ROW--regulation and overtime wins--(the Rangers shootout victory over Philadelphia Sunday obviously didn't count as one of them), the next tiebreaker would be head to head points.
Carolina holds that tiebreaker over the Rangers.
Now, it never needs to get that point for New York. Winning out earns them a playoff berth, and a Carolina loss puts the Hurricanes on the ropes.
As for looking forward. The Rangers are only two points behind the Canadiens, but are significantly behind the Canadiens in ROW. New York can't beat Montreal in a tiebreaker, so the Rangers would have to pass the Canadiens in points.
While that's a longshot, there's no doubt that it would be favorable for the Rangers once the playoffs started. But as usual, the Rangers need to guarantee themselves a spot first.
That should be easy though, right?
All they have to do is win.