This week, it's a completely different tune.
Before we get started lets take a look at the playoff picture:
6. Montreal: 56 games played, 66 points
7. Rangers: 57 games played, 62 points
8. Atlanta:57 games played, 60 points
9. Carolina: 55 games played, 59 points
10. Buffalo: 53 games played, 57 points
13. Devils: 56 games played, 48 points
Let's start with the free-fall portion of this article: the New York Rangers. The Rangers are an astoundingly bad 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, and they're 0-5-1 in their last six. That's not playoff hockey, nowhere near it.
The Rangers, who were once enjoying a comfortable cushion within the playoff zone, are now at the edge of the cliff staring into the abyss below. They can't seem to find scoring when they're down, and their defense abandons them when they're up.
Friday night was a stunning example of the Rangers current inability to win games., with the Rangers blowing a 2-1 lead late to the Atlanta Thrashers (who they're fighting with for a playoff position) and losing the game late. It's stunning how much different this post-All-Star break team looks, compared to before the break.
With the trade deadline approaching the Rangers brass needs to figure out which pieces they want to bring in, and which pieces they want to shed. Glen Sather has already brought in Wojtek Wolski in a brilliant move, now he needs to see what's next.
Regardless of what the issues are, they need to be solved very soon or else the Rangers might be on the outside looking in.
The New Jersey Devils are in the exact opposite position on the other hand. The Devils, who have been so far out of the playoff race that they would have needed a bus to get back into it, are suddenly creeping into playoff talks. It would still be a remarkable feat, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible.
The Devils are on an 8-1-1 tear in their last 10 games, and they are 12 points behind the eighth place Thrashers, for the bottom, and final, playoff position.
It's going to be a crazy finish, there's no debate about that, but there's no inking of who's going to be happy when all is said and done. And while we can't promise you that we know what's going to happen, we can keep you up to date as we enjoy the ride.