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Monday Morning Musings: The Magic Numbers

What the Rangers need to do to lock up the East and the Presidents' Trophy.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to be honest; it's a little strange sitting with my feet up on the desk while I watch most of the Eastern Conference battling to the death for the final couple of playoff spots. It's a nice feeling, but certainly not something I'm used to.

The New York Rangers have already clinched a Metropolitan Division crown, granting them at least two series of home games if they survive to play them. But with four games remaining, the Rangers have a shot at both the Eastern Conference title AND the Presidents' Trophy.

What are those magic numbers? Let's take a look at the conference in terms of points, ROW and games remaining.

Rangers -- 107 points, 46 ROW and four games remaining
Montreal -- 106 points, 42 ROW and two games remaining 
Tampa Bay -- 104 points, 46 ROW and two games remaining

Montreal can achieve 110 points if they win their final two games, but will not be able to reach the Rangers' 46 ROW (the first tiebreaker). Tampa Bay can max out at 108 points and can best the Rangers' 46 ROW depending on how the Rangers finish.

So the magic number for the conference is three points, because Tampa Bay cannot reach 110 points and even if Montreal does the Rangers would hold the ROW tiebreaker.

What would that mean for the Rangers? Home ice up to the Stanley Cup Final. It would also match the Rangers up against the second of the two Wild Cards in the first round.

The Presidents' Trophy (best team in the NHL) is also within reach.

What is that magic number? Let's review the same way we did with the conference (points, ROW and games remaining).

Rangers -- 107 points, 46 ROW and four games remaining
Anaheim -- 107 points, 42 ROW and two games remaining 
Montreal -- 106 points, 42 ROW and two games remaining
St. Louis -- 105 points, 40 ROW and three games remaining
Nashville -- 104 points, 41 ROW and three games remaining
Tampa Bay -- 104 points, 46 ROW and two games remaining

Anaheim can max out at 111 points, but even if they win their final two games the Rangers would hold the tiebreaker so long as they matched the points. The Rangers earning four points in their final four games would give them 111 total points and secure the Presidents' Trophy. Even though Anaheim and St. Louis could match the 111 points, neither could match the Rangers' ROW on the season.

What would it mean? It means home ice for every series the Rangers advance to in the playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Final. This would also match up the Rangers with the second of the two wild cards in the first round of the playoffs.

So there you have it, the magic numbers the Rangers are looking at entering tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. A win would move the Rangers two points closer to both the Eastern Conference and NHL's crown. It's tough to stay hungry when your playoff position is all but sewed up, but there are obvious benefits to grabbing four more points.

Thoughts?