NHL Death Watch: How much trouble are the NY Rangers really in?

Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

The New York Rangers were picked by many to be an Eastern Conference, and potential Stanley Cup, champion this season.

But at the moment, after Tuesday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Rangers are tied with the Winnipeg Jets in points (46) for the No. 8 seed but have a game in-hand.

From the New York Daily News, goalie Henrik Lundqvist said:

“We have to approach every game like it’s the last game of the season,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (18 saves), who had an off-night after stealing Saturday night’s 1-0 shutout on Long Island. “Every point now could be the difference, in or out, so we have to really put in everything we’ve got every night.”

So are the Rangers in deep trouble?

Well, let’s leave it as “in trouble," but not that deep.

The fact is that with two games against the Florida Panthers, the Rangers arguably have an easier road than do the Jets. Both teams face Carolina and Buffalo, but the Jets play the Islanders, Capitals and Canadiens while the Rangers face the Devils twice to round out their schedule.

(Granted, it’ll likely be a Devils team that has Ilya Kovalchuk back.)

As you’ll see in the charts, the Rangers are still firmly in a playoff seed, controlling their own destiny. But No. 8 in the conference and tied in points with the No. 9 seed isn’t where they wanted to be at this point in the season.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West, as we shift the focus to playoff seeding. The full NHL standings and schedules can be found on Y! Sports.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Ottawa Senators (6) 6th/50/18 - 97.9 20 9
New York Islanders (5) 7th/49/19 - 84.8 36 29
New York Rangers (6) 8th/46/17 - 81.9 31 36
Winnipeg Jets (5) 9th/46/20 10 38.4 7 20
Buffalo Sabres (5) 10th/42/13 6 0.4 0 0
Philadelphia Flyers (5) 11th/41/18 5 0.4 0 0
New Jersey Devils (6) 12th/40/13 6 0.3 0 0
Tampa Bay Lightning (5) 13th/38/16 2 0.0 - 0
Carolina Hurricanes (6) 14th/36/17 2 0.0 - 0

The Sabres have faint playoff hopes, sitting four points off the pace but having games with the Rangers and Jets left on their schedule. They’d have to win out and get a lot of help, beginning with the Boston Bruins in what should be an emotional barn in Beantown tonight.

Meanwhile, Northeast leading Montreal will attempt to right its ship at Pittsburgh, leading the Bruins by a single point with Boston having a game in-hand.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Minnesota Wild (5) 6th/51/20 - 97.6 32 10
St. Louis Blues (6) 7th/50/20 - 97.7 20 7
Detroit Red Wings (6) 8th/47/18 - 65.2 15 43
Columbus Blue Jackets (5) 9th/47/15 10 17.9 3 14
Dallas Stars (6) 10th/45/19 10 20.8 4 15
Phoenix Coyotes (6) 11th/43/15 8 2.6 0 2
Edmonton Oilers (6) 12th/39/14 4 0.0 - 0
Calgary Flames (7) 13th/36/16 1 OUT - -

The Blue Jackets’ unlikely run continues at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, while the No. 8 seeded Detroit Red Wings can eliminate the Calgary Flames in their game in Motown.

While not likely, given their opponents, there is a chance that we could wake up on Thursday morning with Columbus owning sole possession of the No. 8 seed in the West with four games left in their season. Incredible.