The Blueshirts clinched a playoff berth on their third try last night with a 4-2 win over Torts and the Blue Jackets. With three games remaining on the schedule of this very strange regular season the Rangers currently sit in 4th place in the East with 97pts. Staying consistent with the overall theme of this season, last night’s clincher had it’s ups and downs. It was great to see Kreider continue his solid run of form, notching his 20th goal of the season and adding an assist. But Captain Mac took a shot off his right hand and did not return. If that hand is broken and McDonagh has to miss significant time this Rangers playoff run could be over quicker than a Dan Girardi d-zone turnover.
As is always the case a hot goaltender can carry a team through the playoffs. So with Hank in net the Rangers are always going to be a tough out. But the inability they have shown to close out games throughout the entire season makes it hard to believe they are suddenly going to turn it around when the bright lights come on. This season has been a rollercoaster full of blown 3rd period leads, soft net front defense, and injuries. The feel of this team is almost completely opposite of how Rangers fans felt after last years Presidents Cup winning regular season. But maybe the lower expectations will allow this years team to play a bit looser in the playoffs after the 2014-2015 was clearly burdened by the weight of expectation. If the standings hold as they currently are we are looking at a first round matchup with the rival Islanders. A hotly contested series like that might be just what the Rangers needs to jump start a legitimate run at the Cup.