New York Rangers playoff picture shows uphill battle for first place

new york rangers
Mar 30, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) celebrates with teammates after scoring in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Rangers playoff picture is becoming clearer, even if it’s not exactly what they were hoping for. The team is having a remarkable season but still want to finish as high as possible, but that path for a division title became more difficult today.

“We want to finish first,” head coach Gerard Gallant said on Saturday. “We want to win every game we play but at the end of the day, whether we are first or second, we’ve got home ice.”

The Rangers locked up second place after beating the Islanders on Thursday, so as Gallant noted they already have home ice for round one. Unfortunately, finishing in first place became much more difficult after losing to the Boston Bruins.

That path became arduous on Sunday after the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Islanders 5-2. The victory moved them up four points on the Blueshirts heading into the big matchup on Tuesday night.

@ COL 4/16 (L)vs DET 4/16 (W)
@ AZ 4/18 (W)vs WPG 4/19 (W)
vs WPG 4/21 (W)@NYI 4/21 (W)
@ NJ 4/23 (W)@ BOS 4/23 (L)
@ NYI 4/24 (W)vs CAR 4/26
@ NYR 4/26vs MTL 4/27
vs NJD 4/28vs WSH 4/29
NYR and CAR remaining schedule

New York Rangers playoff picture

The New York Rangers (108 points) still have a path to first pace despite being 4 points back of the Carolina Hurricanes (112 points) but it’s going to take some help. To be clear, the Rangers must win on Tuesday in their head-to-head matchup for the following scenarios to be possible.

Scenario 1: Rangers beat Hurricanes in regulation

  • Hurricanes lose last game to Devils in regulation, Rangers need three points against Canadiens and Capitals
  • Hurricanes lose in OT or SO to Devils, Rangers need to beat both the Canadiens and Capitals

Scenario 2: Rangers beat Hurricanes in OT or SO

  • Hurricanes must lose to Devils in regulation, Rangers need to beat both the Canadiens and Capitals

New York Rangers most likely playoff opponents

new york rangers playoff picture
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Rangers finish second in the Metro Division, which the site MoneyPuck has them at 82.6% likely to do so, they’ll face either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals.

Season Series vs Penguins: 3-1 NYR
NYR Goals For: 11
NYR Goals Against: 4

The Rangers played them extremely well this season, with their only loss coming in Pittsburgh by a score of 1-0. Igor Shesterkin started all four games and posted a stunning save percentage of .960 with a GAA of 1.01 and a shutout.

Artemi Panarin recorded four points in the series (1G -3A). Chris Kreider was the offensive catalyst with six points (3G – 3A). Mika Zibanejad had six helpers.

Season Series vs Capitals: 1-1 (one game remaining, 4/29/22)
NYR Goals For: 5
NYR Goals Against: 6

Both teams split their only two games of the year with the Rangers closing their season against the Caps at the end of April. Alexandar Georgiev played in the loss in the season opener, but Shesterkin was stellar in his one start with a .973 SV% allowing just one goal.

On the offensive side, Panarin did not post a single point against them, which is a little concerning. Kreider scored a goal in each contest.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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