This is it ladies and gents. This is the month that will help make or break the Rangers. The month that if they find a way to succeed through will help the clinch a spot, or the month that could have them clinging to a playoff position or praying for a playoff birth like they found themselves last year on the last day of the season.
What we also learned from that last day of the season is that even if a team sneaks into the playoffs they can do serious damage.
But this is it. 18 games to go, 14 of them in this month.
I’d say a 12-6 or 11-5-2 (anything that gets them to 94 points) would be a safe total the rest of the way and by safe I mean it should definitely guarantee a playoff spot with some breathing room, something that we haven’t been treated to for a long time. It would be nice if going into the last three games of the season in April, the Rangers had successfully sealed their playoff birth and can cruise into the second season.
15 games in March, 2 back to back sets (3rd and 4th / 30th and 31st). As of today only 5 games this month are against teams currently slated in the top 8 of their conference, a nice change of the hell of the month that was February where nearly every game was against an elite NHL team.
7 of 8 on home ice, the Rangers will end the season with a three game homestand in April.
Lundqvist career in March: 63 games, 35-15-11 2.21 gaa .921 sv%. The Rangers are going to need numbers like that from him this month to stay afloat in the top 8.
Tonight, the first of the month also marks the first game of the month for the Rangers who start a swing of 3 games in 4 nights. Tonight is a huge game because it comes against the Buffalo Sabres, the team on the outside looking in currently who I believe poses the biggest threat to the Rangers in terms of overtaking a spot in the top 8.
The Sabres sit at 65 points, 5 behind the Rangers with 3 games in hand. With a win tonight the Rangers could give themselves a nice cushion of 7 points with the Sabres only having 3 games in hand. OR they could completely give up any cushion at all and have the Sabres at 67 points, 3 points behind them with those 3 games remaining in hand.
Every game is critical
Tonight however is extra important. Not just to give the Rangers a bigger cushion, but to put them on the right foot to start the month – to start the stretch run. An 82 game season starts to get serious in these 15 games.
Lets get serious.
Goalie matchup tonight is Henrik Lundqvist VS Ryan Miller (American hero? or American choke-artist?…Just kidding Sabres fans, chill out).
Lundqvist VS Buffalo: 16 games, 8-6-2, 2.49 GAA, .917 sv%
Miller VS NYR: 18 games, 11-5-2, 2.39 GAA, .922 sv%
In the two games the Rangers and Sabres have faced off against each other the Rangers have won both. Their season opener where Stepan scored his hat-trick and Dubinsky added 2 goals to defeat the Sabres in their home opener 6-3. Then there was the 3-2 OT win at the Garden, Biron started this game. Anisimov scored 2 in this one including the game winner in OT. Interesting to note in that second game at the Garden, Del Zotto logged 24:40 of time on ice while the Rangers went 0/5 on the “power” play.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm on Versus.
Enjoy the game everyone!
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel