Ya boys can clinch a playoff spot by getting a point in any of their last four games, or via both the Devils and the Maple Leaves failing to win out. More importantly, they are two wins away from clinching a spot in the 2-3 first-round matchup.
The Rangers can clinch a 2-3 seed first-round matchup with two wins in their last 4, or if Columbus gets fewer than 7 points in its last 5. If the Rangers win just one more game, they get the 2-3 seed by Columbus failing to get nine of 10 possible points.
I think that’s all correct. I will ask Captain Obvious. Or any of youse. I will happily fix it if you find a mistake (eric).
Here’s how I look at the standings before tonight’s games, regarding the Rangers’ clinching and getting the 2-3 seed:
2-Rangers 91 points (39 ROW), 4 left.
3-Philly 87 points (36 ROW), 5 left (97 maximum points).
WC-Detroit 88 points (32 ROW), 5 left (98 maximum points).
WC-Columbus 85 points (34 ROW), 5 left (95 maximum points).
Toronto 84 points (29 ROW), 4 left (92 maximum points).
Devils 82 points (33 ROW), 5 left (92 maximum points).
(Washington can still get a wild card but can’t catch the Rangers).
The Rangers are 7-1-1 in last nine. After tonight, there are three games left — Carolina Tuesday and Buffalo Thursday, both at MSG, then a season finale in Montreal Saturday.
Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) remains out day to day. Brian Boyle is expected to move up, probably for some wall presence and defensive responsibility that’s been woefully missing from the Brad Richards-Martin St. Louis line.
Henrik Lundqvist starts in goal against Robin Lehner and the Senators, who are barely mathematically alive for a wild card.
Other games that could matter today/tonight:
Boston 5, Philadephia 2; Washington at Islanders (in progress); Devils at Carolina (7 p.m.); Detroit at Montreal (7 p.m.); Winnipeg at Toronto (7 p.m.).
After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.