The Rangers have 9 games left. Only three are against teams with more points (2 vs. Philly, 1 vs. Buffalo). And we are within 5 points of Philly in the standings (at last glance). The two teams between the Rangers and a playoff spot are Boston and Atlanta. Boston plays 9 games, of which 6 are against teams with more points; Atlanta has 8 games left, 5 of which are against teams with more points than them.
Now, for as long as I can remember, the Rangers always seem to get screwed by the scheduling gods. This year, though, they seem to have smiled upon us. A game in hand against one of our rivals for a spot and twice as many "easy" teams. This obviously doesn't account for the fact that certain teams with fewer points are on hot streaks and other better teams might be resting players for the playoffs (Pittsburgh, Washington), but that doesn't happen nearly as often in hockey as it does in football. This also isn't to say that missing the playoffs is necessarily a bad thing. I think the organization could use a bit of a wake up call. BUT, God do I love playoff hockey.
All I'm saying is, we've got a shot. And we would likely play Washington in the first round - the same team that we came within a period of upsetting last year.