The New York Rangers got some help Monday when the Ottawa Senators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers almost got a lot of help, but the Winnipeg Jets bested the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 to keep their playoff hopes alive. But the Senators loss was big for the Rangers, too, since it jumped them into 7th place in the conference thanks to New York having 20 regulation and overtime wins (ROW) against Ottawa's 19.
A win of any kind tonight (coupled with a Jets loss in regulation) would give the Rangers a playoff berth. If the Rangers win and the Islanders lose (in regulation, overtime or a shootout) the Rangers would move up to 6th.
So there's a lot at stake tonight. Since the Rangers game is a 7:30 start, the Rangers will have a good idea of where they stand by the third period (although I doubt John Tortorella will be thinking about that behind the bench). And honestly the Rangers simply need to be in "just win the game" mode anyway; but at least the fans will have an idea of where things stand.
Winnipeg only has two games left (including their bout with Washington tonight where the Capitals will be fighting for their division title), so their max point total is 55. The Rangers are currently at 52.
Regardless, the Rangers have a real opportunity to put themselves in a very comfortable position in terms of playoff seeding. They have to win, of course, but at this stage in the season every game is a must-win.
Hopefully the Rangers get some more help, too.