Rangers will be in the “playoffs” when hockey returns

Official word is coming. Yesterday several reports surfaced led by Elliotte Friedman saying both the NHL and NHLPA are indeed looking at a 24 Team NHL Playoffs. The Return to Play Committee is going to work out all the fine details, but the top 12 by point percentage from each conference will get in and that means the New York Rangers will break their playoff-less streak.

Return to Play Scenario

Let’s break down what Friedman reported on Sportsnet. The top 4 teams from each conference will receive a bye as the bottom eight go through a “play-in” round. However, and Friedman admits he doesn’t understand how exactly this would work, while the bottom 8 battle it out those top teams will compete (likely against each other) in a three game tournament.

Top Seeds are Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West.

The rest of the playoffs would be “bracketed.” That means, in both conferences 5 vs. 12 (winner plays four seed), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays three seed), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays two seed) and 8 vs. 9 (winner plays one seed).  So that would mean an opening round of: Pittsburgh/Montreal; Carolina/Rangers; Islanders/Florida and Toronto/Columbus in the East and Edmonton/Chicago; Nashville/Arizona; Vancouver/Minnesota; Calgary/Winnipeg in the West.


Rangers to “Storm” into the Playoffs

If this is approved either today or tomorrow, that means the Rangers will face-off against the Hurricanes in an opening best of 5. A team the Blueshirts went 4-0 against during the season and absolutely dominated them 17 Goals For to 9 Goals Against. Oddly enough it was Henrik Lundqvist who backstopped the first three wins against Carolina this season with Igor Shesterkin getting the last one in February.

Initially it was believed the Rangers would be moved into an Atlantic Division Hub, but that was scrapped earlier this week. If the Rangers can get by the Hurricanes they would then take on the Flyers whom they could not beat in 3 tries giving up 15 goals while only scoring 6. That series as the rest of the playoffs will be a best of 7.

*Correction: Rangers would be the 11 seed and Carolina 6th, thus winner plays Washington. NY was 2-1 with 12 GF and 11 GA during the season against the Caps. Last game was Zibanejad’s magic 5 goal performance.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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