Next Question: Rangers already buried?

Updated: October 21, 2013, 12:00 PM ET
By Craig Custance

As someone intimately familiar with the Western Conference and now learning the Eastern, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was asked about the success his old conference is enjoying against its Eastern Conference counterparts to open the season.

NHL.com's Corey Masisak pointed out last week that the West started 31-11-4 against the East, a pretty big statement.

"I'm just wondering about home games compared to road games," Richards said. "The one thing that would stand out to me is how many games have they played at home? I know the Rangers started out on a tough road trip. They've been out West. Ottawa's been out West."

And for the Rangers, it's a fair argument. Not only did they start the season on the road and in the West, but at one point played four games in five nights.

They're wrapping up that nine-game road trip in the East, a chance to gain some points after surrendering in ugly losses to the Ducks and Sharks. The Rangers showed that they don't match up particularly well with some of the big, heavy teams in the West, especially defensively. Playing teams such as the Capitals, Devils and Flyers should have helped address that.

So far, the results of the return East have been mixed. After shutting out the Capitals, the Rangers lost to the Devils on Saturday. It was New Jersey's first win of the season. And it leaves us wondering if it might be getting late early for the Rangers.

Next question: Are the Rangers burying themselves in the Metropolitan Division before even their Oct. 28 home opener?