Odds favor Rangers to win division, Presidents’ Trophy

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers became the first team in the NHL to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night. The thrilling 6-5 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers secured them 100 points for the third straight season.

With a relatively easy schedule to wrap up the regular season, the Metropolitan Division title, as well as Presidents’ Trophy, is New York’s for the taking.

Looking at the final 10 games, the Blueshirts should feel comfortable with their schedule. They only have two more games against current playoff teams (the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday and Philadelphia Flyers on April 11). That being said, they will play teams such as the New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders, who are all fighting for a wild-card spot.

The remaining schedule for New York gives them a great chance at winning their division, and possibly the Presidents’ Trophy as the team that finishes first overall in the standings. Their final 10 opponents have a combined points percentage of .524. However, the Carolina Hurricanes (.515) and Flyers (.498) have it even a bit easier down the stretch.

Carolina is three points back of the Rangers and have nine games remaining this season. Philadelphia has 82 points with nine games left, and is trying to hold on to the third spot in the division.

Taking this into account, New York is emerging as the favorite to win its division, and maybe a lot more. Per moneypuck.com, the Rangers have the highest chance at winning the Stanley Cup (11.2 percent). The next closest teams are the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers (10.6%), followed by Carolina (10.4%).

They also show that the Rangers have the best chance at finishing first in the division at 88.1 percent, and the League at 54.4 percent. The next closest team is Vancouver at 16.7 percent. This sets up New York to win their fourth Presidents’ Trophy all-time They have one Stanley Cup championship (1993-94), one second-round exit (1991-92) and one Eastern Conference Final loss (2014-15) in the three seasons they have taken home the regular-season title.

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Despite odds in their favor, Rangers plan to ‘stay current’ with their goals in final 10 games

NHL: Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

For the Rangers, the goal is to stay in the moment and take everything one game at a time for the remainder of the season.

“I think you really have to stay current with what you’re doing,” Peter Laviolette explained. “Our guys have done a really good job of that. The schedule has been tough, we’re banged up a little bit, it wasn’t our best (against Philadelphia), yet, we still found a way to win.”

With only five losses (19-4-1) since Jan. 27, the Rangers are hitting their groove at a perfect time. This sets them up very nicely heading into the playoffs with some positive momentum. And perhaps an easier path to the Stanley Cup.

If they finish first overall and/or conference, the Rangers would match up against the second wild card team in the first round of the playoffs. This will most likely be the Washington Capitals or Red Wings, but the Devils and Islanders are not far behind and could sneak in.

If the Rangers win the division, but not the Eastern Conference, they will likely play the Tampa Bay Lightning. Should they fall to second place in their division, they will most likely play the Flyers, unless the Capitals pass them for third place in the Metro.

Their recent and play and the odds favor the Rangers. Now they must seal the deal and carry it into the postseason this spring.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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