Steve Zipay at Newsday reports that it has been projected 56 points will secure a playoff spot in this 48-game season.
Zipay adds that last season, the Rangers collected 61 points (29-16-3) in their final 48 games.
...ok so the Rangers are going to need to secure at least 52 out of the remaining 86 available points. Basically they need to go somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-15-4 the rest of the way to qualify. More than doable, especially when you look at Zipay's numbers from last year and remember that the Rangers didn't exactly light it up down the stretch (11-9-1 in March/April).
Sometimes you cannot just look at the numbers and get an accurate picture...I remember last year's team valiantly fending off a late charge from the Penguins for best record in the conference, so while the numbers say that they did not exactly light it up, the record does not really reflect a team that won 4 in a row down the stretch to lock up the top spot and then dropped a few meaningless games to end the season.
These next 2 games are important (gee, that sounds familiar) because the Rangers have already spotted Pitt & Philly 2 points each...points are hard to make up in a short season, especially when you only play teams a limited number of times...would be really nice to jump on the Flyers, who had a Jekyll & Hyde trip to the Sunshine State this past weekend...even taking into account the Devils fast start, the hierarchy of the Atlantic has yet to be defined, good time to step up and send a message.
Given that the Rangers did a little better in their first 48 (31-12-4) than in their last, this schedule could be favorable if this team can get going. I know they want to build on what they did in Toronto. Hopefully they can start stringing together some wins. After a bumpy start last year they won 7 in a row from October 31 through November 15 and never lost more than two in a row again until March.
@chrisD -- I believe the first 48 games filled the schedule through January 31, 2012, and up to that point the Rangers went 31-12-4, good enough for 66 pts. So their first 48 was actually better than their last 48.