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NHL New York Rangers

Despite Clinching A Playoff Spot, New York Rangers Face Must-Win vs. Buffalo Sabres on Thursday

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Now I know what you are thinking. I am only saying Thursday night’s game, at home again the Buffalo Sabres, is a must-win game for the New York Rangers because the Sabres sit dead last in the entire Eastern Conference; but no, that is not the reason.

The reason as to why the Rangers must not look past the Sabres and have to win this game is because, while still in a playoff spot no matter what, there is still a chance for the Rangers to fall all the way down to one of the two wildcard spots, where they would play either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Boston Bruins. This is something the Rangers want to avoid at all costs for obvious reasons. The Bruins and Penguins are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference for a reason. This is why the game against the Sabres is a must-win.

Yes, I know the Rangers have another game after this one, but that final game will be in Montreal, aka the house of horrors. Now the Rangers did actually win their only meeting earlier this season against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, but that was the first time the Rangers have won in Montreal in four years. So with the odds definitely not in the Rangers’ favor to win two games in a row in Montreal, I say just take care of business at home against the Sabres and guarantee either a second or third place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

Now the only team that can catch the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division, the Columbus Blue Jackets, would have to win out and the Rangers would have to lose out to fall down to a wildcard spot, but with each team only having two games left in the regular season, it is definitely not out of the realm of possibility to say the very least.

All of this is why the game against the Sabres is a must-win for the Rangers.

Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn, and join his Google network.

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