A project for my boss just now involved submitting a list of teams the Rangers might face in the first round of the playoffs.
From what I recall about last year, only sixth through eighth place were viable options at the same point in the season, and I’m pretty sure there were only four realistic first round opponents: Buffalo, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta (where the Rangers ended up going).
This year? There are seven different possible opponents (eight if you count the Sabres three points out of eighth, and 10 if you think Washington or Florida storming back to win the Southeast Division is still a possibility).
Not only that, but there is still the chance the Rangers could claim home-ice advantage, meaning there are something like a thousand different scenarios for where the Rangers would play their first round game and who they’d be playing against.
A couple of reactions to this:
First off, I should reiterate I am really bad at math so I’m pretty sure “a thousand” is probably not accurate.
And secondly, I’m aware that this isn’t something any of you want to discuss right now since it’s woefully premature. But that’s just what I do.