- There were enormous implications with last night’s matchup against the Islanders, just ... not the way people expected in the beginning of the year. The Rangers lost 2-1, and as Islanders fans talked as much crap as they could muster, I looked at the standings and did a Grinch-like smile. With last night’s loss to them, the Islanders passed the Rangers in the standings. Not just that, but Edmonton also won, which sets the table up for the Rangers to move as far as 7th from the bottom.
- With 77 points and one game left, the Rangers will take on the fighting-for-their-playoff-lives Flyers for the finale of this disastrous regular season. If the Rangers lose that game in regulation they can fall no worse than in the 9th overall in the draft lottery odds. If the Rangers lose in regulation and Chicago wins one of their two remaining games and Edmonton wins their final game the Rangers will fall to 7th. If one of those two things happen they’ll sit at 8th.
- There’s enormous implications here. Even at 9th the Rangers have a better chance of landing one of those seven potential game-changing names on this year’s board than at 10th. Or could possibly walk away with Brady Tkachuk (although I think he’s one of the risers that will end up pushing a game-changer deeper into the draft). This would be a big deal. A really big deal. We discuss this in length on the podcast last night.
- Now, as for the game. Kevin Hayes — who has been remarkably misused this year — scored his 25th goal of the year. Combined with Mika Zibanejad’s 27 goals, it’s the first time two Rangers centers have scored 25+ goals since ... Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. That said, Hayes has put up 25 goals and 44 points on the year, where he’s being forced into a two-way center role? Yeah, I’ll take it. What a season from him.
- The Rangers did some good things, but they had no finish. Zibanejad had a few chances that he didn’t bury. I thought the Pavel Buchnevich line played really well all things considered. Even so, the power plays were mostly toothless, which ended up being the deciding factor.
- As for the kids: I liked Filip Chytil a lot, and thought Lias Andersson played a really gritty game.
- For as much as I was gushing about John Gilmour about a month ago, I think Neal Pionk has rocketed past him in the “next year’s unofficial depth chart.” Just a gut feeling.
- Brady Skjei recorded his 21st assist of the year. He has 25 points right now, a big drop off from last year, but there’s tons of other factors at play. Especially when you consider that the Rangers might have the lowest leading scorer in the NHL this year.
- Welp, that’s about all from that game. Thoughts?