Could the Devils Steal the Eighth Seed from the Rangers?

Bruce Bennett

The Devils are outside of the playoffs looking in, and hope is barely alive for them. This post looks at the importance of the two games versus the Hated Rivals.

The New Jersey Devils may miss the playoffs after last year's Stanley Cup Finals run. The key word in that sentence is "may". The Devils are not technically eliminated, so let's look at how the Devils could potentially take eighth place from the Rangers.

While the fact that the Devils may miss the playoffs after last year is frustrating for many fans, there is still a sliver of hope left. For the pessimists out there, feel free to skip the rest of the post. The Devils are not mathematically eliminated yet, but it seems that the only way the Devils get in is winning out most of the season. The Devils and Rangers both have five games remaining after last night's games and are separated by six points. However, with the Devils playing two of those remaining games against the Rangers, there is still a chance.

Below are the remaining schedules for both the Devils and Rangers.

Rangers Remaining Schedule

Devils Remaining Schedule

Date

Team

Home/Away

Date

Team

Home/Away

FRI APR 19, 2013

Sabres

Away

SAT APR 20, 2013

Panthers

Home

SUN APR 21, 2013

Devils

Home

SUN APR 21, 2013

Rangers

Away

TUE APR 23, 2013

Panther

Away

TUE APR 23, 2013

Canadiens

Home

THU APR 25, 2013

Hurricanes

Away

THU APR 25, 2013

Penguins

Home

SAT APR 27, 2013

Devils

Home

SAT APR 27, 2013

Rangers

Away

Of the teams the Rangers have left to play, not a single one is currently in a playoff spot. As for the Devils, they face the number one and number two teams in the East in the Penguins and the Canadiens, as well as the bottom team in the NHL: the Panthers. The Devils clearly have the harder schedule. So, how did the two teams fare against the remaining opposition this season?

Rangers vs. Opponents

Devils vs. Opponents

Team

Results

Team

Results

Sabres

SOW(3-2), L(1-3)

Panthers

W(2-1), OTL(2-3)

Devils

L(3-1), W(2-3)

Rangers

W(3-1), L(2-3)

Panthers

L(1-3), W(6-1)

Canadiens

OTL(3-4), L(1-2)

Hurricanes

SOW(2-1), W(4-1)

Penguins

L(1-5), W(3-1), W(3-1)

Devils

L(3-1), W(2-3)

Rangers

W(3-1), L(2-3)

Total

5 Wins, 4 Losses

Total

5 Wins, 5 Losses

So, it does look bleak for the Devils, but there is still hope. The Rangers and Devils both did OK against the teams they have yet to play. As the season comes to an end, some teams' fates are already decided. For the Rangers, the Sabres are fighting to get into the playoffs while the Hurricanes and Panthers are already eliminated. So the Rangers could face a few teams that have already mentally checked out for the season. However, Devils fans should hope that the Panthers and Hurricanes are looking to play spoilers to the Rangers. Meanwhile, the Devils have a little different situation. As for the Devils' remaining opponents; the Penguins have all but clinched the Eastern Conference. Perhaps they will be resting their stars by the time the Devils play them and the Devils play a good solid 60 minutes. Looking at the North East division opponent, the Canadiens are fighting for the number two seed in the East with the Bruins and will likely show up against the Devils, like they did the rest of the season.

Obviously, the key to the Devils playoff hopes are the two games against the Rangers. If the Devils win both against the Rangers and pick up their other games, they can still, technically, make the postseason.

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