For Rangers fans it has truly been a glass half empty, or has it been a glass half full season so far? On the full side, third in the conference and five points back of the Florida Panthers for second overall, and home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Catching the scorching Washington Capitals won’t happen, the second place Florida Panthers are another matter. The Rangers now have a identifiable goal to play for in the season ending sprint. And they better take it serious because on the half empty side, 10 teams are within 9 points of catching them. They control their own destiny, and they have to take advantage of that, if they have any hopes of a playoff run.
Will they find some consistency? Thats another story. Barring a total collapse you can book your playoff tickets. They have proven they can remain in the race, all the while playing sloppy, uninspired, and inconsistent hockey. Although continuing that type of play will bring a bottom eight finish, and the daunting task of starting every round of the playoffs on the road. Tampa Bay, Boston and the rejuvenated Pittsburgh Penguins under Mike Sullivan are nipping at their heels and waiting for the Rangers slightest stumble.
The Rangers are in a good position standing wise. Its time for a battle hardened group to awaken the hate to lose mentality, that has slumbered through the first 3/4’s of the season. If they don’t pick up their desperation level, its going to be a slide into the playoffs followed by a quick shattering exit.