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Rangers Can Secure Playoff Position with 5 Key In-Division Games

Gerard Gallant New York Rangers

Five of the New York Rangers’ 15 remaining games are against three Metropolitan Division rivals who all are on track to make the postseason. They play the Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back games on March 16 and 18, two consecutive contests versus the Carolina Hurricanes on March 21 and 23, and the New Jersey Devils on March 30. The Hurricanes and Devils are the favorites to finish with the top two spots in the Metro, while the Rangers, Penguins, and New York Islanders are battling for the third spot.

Gerard Gallant, Head Coach of the New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

New York was inconsistent during February. Following a six-game winning streak from Feb. 6 – Feb. 17, they closed the month with one win in five games. But in March, they’re 4-2-1 as they prepare to play back-to-back games versus the Penguins. New York played the Devils previously in three meetings this year, with New Jersey being 2-0-1 in those three contests. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes in two previous matchups this year and lost to Pittsburgh in overtime on March 12. Let’s take a look at why the Rangers can secure playoff positioning with five upcoming games against three of their Metropolitan Division rivals.

Rangers Could Open the Playoffs vs. the Hurricanes or Devils

The Rangers look to be on track to face either the Hurricanes or Devils in the opening round. Both clubs present a tremendous test for New York, who is looking for a second consecutive deep playoff run. Carolina lost to the Rangers in a second-round series last year and will be looking to turn the tide if the clubs meet again.

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour is one of the league’s brightest young head coaches. Even without Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty for the rest of 2022-23, Brind’Amour will have his team raring to go in a series versus the Rangers. The upcoming games against each other will serve as a potential postseason preview.

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Rangers fans should keep an eye on Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas due to their big play potential. New additions at the trade deadline, Jesse Puljujarvi and Shayne Gostisbehere, are adjusting to their new club. Similar to Brent Burns, Gostisbehere is an offensive-minded defenseman with the capability of anchoring their power play. Having multiple offensive-minded blueliners will serve Carolina well on power play chances during the postseason. With the season-ending injuries to Svechnikov and…

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