Why the New York Rangers benefit from the NHL’s new playoff format

Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers benefit the most from the NHL’s 24-team playoff format.

There are still more questions than answers, but the NHL’s return from its unfortunate pause is on the horizon.

Whether fans like it or not, a 24-team playoff format is the lone option if hockey resumes and there’s one answer that’s evident.

Expect the unexpected.

The new format entails wrinkles NHL teams have never experienced – that we know. Fans should consider that the 2019-20 regular season is arguably a wash, and the reality is that every team is in the same boat.

“Home-ice advantage” no longer exists and suddenly room for opportunity has never been greater for underdogs in hockey. With that being said, this new format benefits the Broadway Blueshirts.

Why the New York Rangers will thrive in the NHL’s 2019-20 playoff format.

Let’s face it, the new format automatically plays in the Rangers’ favor considering New York didn’t crack the Eastern Conference’s top-eight seeds when the 2019-20 campaign paused.

Two months ago, the chatter around Madison Square Garden was where will goaltender Henrik Lundqvist get traded to this offseason and will he ever win a Stanley Cup?

Motivation to redeem himself and earn a ring for the City that Never Sleeps is now realistic, and a Rangers team that was on the rise towards the end of the season is fresh and eager to succeed.

Let’s not forget that head coach David Quinn’s experience at the collegiate level could benefit the Rangers’ odds at advancing.

The format entails a bracket and March Madness-style, especially the best of five play-in series. There’s no room for comfort and don’t be surprised if Quinn’s coaching systems outduel his opponents on the chalkboard – he’ll take chances and risks other coaches likely aren’t willing to – such as starting Lundqvist in Game 1.

What about the Rangers’ opponent?

Ah, yes, Carolina.

The Hurricanes were expected to make a run at Lord Stanley after their memorable success last postseason. Justin Williams and company entail depth in all areas on the ice, but is the goaltending good enough to propel the Hurricanes against the Rangers?

Potential Hart Memorial Trophy candidate in Artemi Panarin and 40-goal scorer Mika Zibanejad can arguably steal and take over a short series, while exposing Carolina’s uncertainties between the pipes. The Rangers having that top-tier talent and skaters that can score at will benefits New York in the unique format – and the Rangers win that showdown over Carolina.

While home-ice advantage isn’t relevant – road records are. Both squads earned a commendable 19 wins away from their respective arenas this past season, but perhaps the Rangers playing away from the pressure in New York offers goes in their favor.

The ultimate key for the new format goes beyond stats and what was accomplished in the regular season – now more than ever the Stanley Cup Playoffs boils down to emotion.

Timing is everything and right now – it benefits the Broadway Blueshirts.

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