New York Rangers return to work, Metro division standings tight

new york rangers
Jan 22, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates a 7-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes with New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will be returning to work today with a scheduled practice at 4PM. Their last game was a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on February 1.

While they’ve been off for the All-Star Break and for most of the previously scheduled Olympic Break being used by the NHL to make up dozens of postponed games, the Metro standings have tightened.

Since play resumed, the Rangers now find themselves in third place in the Metro behind the Hurricanes and Penguins respectively. They return to action on February 15 against the Bruins, but should they fall and the Capitals win, the Blueshirts may wake up on the 16th holding a Wild Card spot.

New York Rangers need a strong February finish

The Rangers have six games left to close out the month with four of them at Madison Square Garden.

  • 2/15 vs Boston Bruins (26-16-3) 7 PM ET
  • 2/17 vs Detroit Red Wings (21-21-6) 7 PM ET
  • 2/20 @ Ottawa Senators (16-23-4) 5 PM ET
  • 2/24 vs Washington Capitals (26-14-9) 7 PM ET
  • 2/26 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (29-11-8) 3 PM ET
  • 2/27 vs Vancouver Canucks (21-21-6) 7:30 PM ET

Division leading Carolina has 7 games remaining this month. Second place Penguins also have 7 and fourth place Capitals have 6 left in February.

That makes those head-to-head matchups even more important because it represents a four point swing in the standings.

The Rangers outlook

new york rangers
Jan 13, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (45) celebrates with left wing Artemi Panarin (10) and defenseman Braden Schneider (45) after scoring a goal during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Adding to the Rangers situation is a road heavy schedule in March. New York will play 16 games in 31 days with 9 games on the road.

A quick glance shows two games against the rough and tumble St. Louis Blues. Also on the docket are road contests with the Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars.

While there are some “easy” matchups in March against the Sabres and Red Wings, it’s only two games. That isn’t enough to offset the tough games previously mentioned.

When you add divisional rival games against the Penguins (2x), Devils (2x), Hurricanes, and Islanders you can see why closing out February strong will help as the team jockeys for position.

If the Rangers can keep pace, the month of April turns towards the Rangers favor with only 4 out of 14 games away from Madison Square Garden.

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