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Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The road ahead for Rangers, Devils

By Mike Hume

Six points.

After upping their most recent winning streak to three games, the New Jersey Devils are just six points away from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And they have a game in hand on the eighth place Buffalo Sabres.

It’s time to start wondering what exactly the April 9 between the Devils and the New York Rangers (eight points ahead, but with two more games played) might mean. That game marks the Rangers’ last of the regular season, while the Devils host the Boston Bruins a day later in the final game of their regular season.

But there’s still plenty of hockey left to play before then, and both teams are still walking a very fine line when it comes to cracking the postseason.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the schedules facing both teams, as well as their top playoff competition, leading up to the finales.

New Jersey Devils

Points: 70
Games remaining: 13
Road games remaining: 7
Playoff teams on remaining schedule: 9

Average points of remaining opponents: 80.3

New York Rangers

Points: 78
Games remaining: 11
Road games remaining: 5
Playoff teams on remaining schedule: 6

Average points of remaining opponents: 76.8

Buffalo Sabres

Points: 76
Games remaining: 12
Road game remaining: 5
Playoff teams on remaining schedule: 5

Average points of remaining opponents: 78.0

Carolina Hurricanes

Points: 74
Games remaining: 12
Road games remaining: 4
Playoff teams on remaining schedule: 7

Average points of remaining opponents: 77.6

Take this info for what it’s worth, which is essentially just a snapshot, but it certainly seems that when you combine the standings points, and the strength of remaining schedules that the Devils still have a lot of heavy lifting left. Meanwhile, the Rangers have the easiest road ahead. Just something to consider as we steam towards the finish line.