Should The Rangers Hold Out McDonagh Until The Playoffs?
Reports are surfacing that Ryan McDonagh has no structural damage but will miss time with the shoulder injury.
So the question that begs to be asked, should the Rangers shut him down for the rest of the regular season? NY is very close to capturing a spot in this year’s playoffs, as their magic number is now down to 3. Any combo of 3 points based on wins, losses and overtime losses between NY and Washington, means no worst than 8th for the Blueshirts.
Looking ahead, NY has 5 games left starting in Colorado tomorrow versus the Avalanche. They then have a 3 game home stand against the likes of Ottawa, Carolina and Buffalo before finishing in Montreal.
Based on the schedule, NY is almost guaranteed a spot in the dance, but how important is home ice versus the health of Ryan McDonagh for the playoffs? I rate it very low because we are assuming the Rangers can’t get it without Mac Truck in the lineup.
The Flyers are the most likely candidate to claim the 2nd spot from the Rangers and they have no easy road to it. Their only advantage is having two games in hand, but of the 7 remaining they must face Columbus at home, Boston, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh on the road. That’s 4 tough games, and they would need to win at least 3 of those 4 to take it from the Rangers. Sure, Philly has 3 easier games against Buffalo (H), Florida (A) and Carolina (H), but they still need to win those games.
Let’s also highlight the fact that the NYR are up by 3 points and have 3 more ROW’s then Philly. That means the Flyers must overcome NY’s point totals in order to pass them because the Rangers hold the tiebreaker.
Bottom line, hold out McDonagh for at least 3 games. The addition of Raphael Diaz now looks like a bigger move for Sather than anyone thought before. John Moore is ready to return to the lineup as well. If it’s precarious going into Montreal, suit him up against Buffalo. If not, let him rest up. McDonagh plays big minutes, and a week or more off may be a huge difference this post season.