COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 13: Riley Nash #20 of the Columbus Blue Jackets passes the puck as goaltender Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers defends the net during the third period of a game on January 13, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

All of the optimism from Saturday’s win over the Islanders evaporated when the New York Rangers fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-5 in an awful defensive effort. The game didn’t have much of an effect on their lottery hopes, but put a dent in their playoff aspirations.

Not much movement in either the Lottery Look or the Playoff Picture.  The New York Rangers dropped one point in their playoff push and could be out of the last wild card spot by a dozen points at the end of the day on Monday.

If that happens, we will stop reporting on the playoff situation in detail as twelve points is a bit much to make up.  Meanwhile, the Rangers are still 9th from the bottom of the NHL, only five points away from the Philadelphia Flyers who own that distinction.

The Lottery Look

The Rangers’ loss to Columbus means that they didn’t move up in the standings, a good thing in the drive for the entry draft lottery. There wasn’t  a lot of movement in the lottery standings except for Vancouver moving up a couple slots by beating Florida.

In an afternoon matchup, the Hurricanes upset the Nashville Predators.   Carolina is making a playoff push and now are only three points out of a playoff spot.

The Ducks couldn’t end their losing streak, but at least got to overtime before losing.  With one point they move four points ahead of New York.

Vancouver did as we hoped and beat the Panthers. Although Florida remains one point below the Blueshirts in the standings, they have played two fewer games.  The Canucks have played two more games than the Rangers and four more than Florida, so the loss helped the Rangers’ lottery push.

Arizona couldn’t beat the Flames so they remain tied with the Rangers, but own the tiebreaker.

The standings (worst is first)

Teams                  GP     W-L-OTL     PTS   ROW
1. Philadelphia    45      16-23-6      38      14
2. Ottawa             46       17-24-5      39     17
3. Los Angeles    46       18-25-3      39      17
4. Detroit              47       17-23-7      41     15
5. New Jersey      44       17-20-7      41     16
6. Chicago             47       16-22-9      41     16
7. St Louis             43       19-20-4      42     19
8. Florida               43       17-19-8      42     15
9. Rangers            45       18-20-7      43     13
10. Arizona           45       20-22-3      43     18
11. Edmonton      45       21-21-3      45     19
12. Vancouver      47       21-21-5      47     20
13. Anaheim         46       19-18-9      47     16
14.  Carolina          45       22-18-5      49     21
15.  Buffalo            45      23-16-6       52    20

Who to root for

Six games on the slate for Monday, four involving lottery contenders.  It’s easy to pick who to root for in two games, the other two are pick’ems.

Blues @ Capitals – This one is a no brainer. St. Louls has closed within a point of the Rangers.  They’ve won two in a row and six of ten.  Root for them to upset the Caps.

Wild @ Flyers – Minnesota is in the playoffs right now, Philadelphia is the worst team in the NHL, but are still only five points worse than the Rangers.  Root for the Flyers to win at home.

Blackhawks @ Devils – Both teams have 41 points though Chicago has played three more games.  I guess it’s better for the Hawks to win.

Sabres @ Oilers – The Oilers are closer to the Rangers so root for them to beat the Sabres.  Helps the Rangers playoffs hopes if that happens.

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