We have a tighter playoff race in the Eastern Conference as there is more of a chance for teams to slip in an out of the cut coming down the stretch.
Before action got underway tonight, teams 6th-8th were all tied at 82 pts with 6 games remaining for all three teams. Atlanta, currently on the outside looking in, has 5 games remaining with 3 of the 5 on the road and will face Washington twice, Pittsburgh twice, and New Jersey once. So mathematically they're very much in the hunt, but those are very tough opponents to face especially with only 2 wins in their previous 5 games. I see them falling short.
The Rangers have more of a chance to find their way into the post season with 3 of their last 5 against teams that will miss the playoffs and 2 of their games against the Flyers for 4 VERY important points up for grabs. The Flyers are one of the teams mentioned tied at 82 pts. I believe the Rangers fate will be determined by these two final games and I think they'll sneak into the playoffs for a possible first round rematch of last year's quarterfinal against Washington.
We'll know more on Sunday when Philadelphia will have played 3 of their remaining 5 games by the time we are dreading going to work on Monday.