This week’s NHL player rankings takes a look at the x-factors from the playoff contenders in the Metropolitan division for a Stanley Cup run.
The New York Rangers surged to first place in the Metropolitan division with five straight wins to take a five-point lead over the New York Islanders.
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With 95 points the Rangers are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for the President’s Trophy lead and have three games in hand on the Ducks as they play for home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After falling to the Los Angeles Kings in the Cup Final last year, it looks like the Blueshirts could be making a return appearance to finish what they couldn’t last year. But who are the players on the Rangers and the other teams in the division that will be the x-factors for their organizations down the stretch with playoff spots on the line?
Playoff spots can be won with the unexpected contributions of a third-line center and home-ice advantage can be won or lost based on the play single player when the standings are this tight. So let’s highlight one player from each team and explain why they’re so important for their team’s playoff hopes and finishing the season strong.
After reading through the list, please leave your suggestions for the team’s x-factor in the comments section below.
With Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey among the worst teams in the league and Philadelphia too far out to get in the playoff chase, they have been eliminated from discussion for this list.
Without further ado, here are the biggest x-factor for each playoff contender from the Metropolitan heading down the stretch run.
All player/team stats and records current as of March 17 and players ranked based on team’s place in standings.
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