What will it take for the Rangers to make the playoffs? The answer is that the Rangers are likely to need to take five of their remaining seven games.
Here is how we get there:
1. The Tie Breaking Procedure:
If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order:
- The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).
- The greater number of games won.
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any "odd" games, shall be used to determine the standing.
- The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.
2. The records:
3. The schedule:
Boston plays: Devils, Florida, Toronto, Buffalo, Carolina and Washington (twice).
Atlanta plays: Toronto, Washington (twice), Devils and Pittsburgh (twice).
Rangers play: Islanders, Tampa, Florida, Buffalo, Toronto and Flyers (twice).
Boston: Out of a possible 14 points, Boston is likely to get six or seven points and finish with 86 or 87. If the Devils really hate the Rangers, look for them to tank in their game. If Washington hates us too, they might too. Then Boston's total points will be even higher.
Atlanta: Out of a possible 12 points, Atlanta is likely to get six points and finish with 84 points. They are out of it unless they find the key to beating the top playoff teams.
5. What does this all mean? Assuming the predictions are likely to be true, and that is a big if, the Rangers will have to finish with 86 or 87 points in order to tie Boston in points just to make the tie breaker. If they do, they will also have to win one more game than Boston does to tie them in wins. Otherwise, Boston owns the tiebreaker. If they tie in wins, the Rangers own the next tie breaker, having beaten Boston three out of four times.
So, for those of you who still believe:
Rangers win five of seven, Boston wins three of seven and the Rangers are in the playoffs.
The Rangers making the playoffs with a 5-2 record is also the most likely scenario (playoff chances - 18.945%) under the Monte Carlo simulation run at SportsClubStats.com: