When the Winnipeg Jets opened up a 2-0 lead in the second period after a scoreless opening frame, the fear was that the New York Rangers would fall asleep and open the door for the Pittsburgh Penguins to make up ground in their race. Winnipeg deserves credit for putting up an honest fight, but the Rangers eventually took over the game, winning 4-2 and expanding their Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference lead to a daunting five points.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins still have an April 5 date with the Rangers that could chip two points off of that lead and now have a game in hand, but New York is doing its part to lock up the No. 1 spot in the East.
The Rangers might also look further with their aims, as they tied the St. Louis Blues with 105 points and would actually grab the Presidents’ Trophy right now because of tiebreakers.
The perks are obvious – avoiding a Philadelphia Flyers team that must be taken seriously – but considering the danger presented by the possible eight seed Buffalo Sabres, the top spot is a little less desirable than usual in the East.
Still, the seeding is still a week and a half away from being determined, and a lot can change in that time. It just so happens that it’s looking less likely that the Rangers will move down in the standings – even if the Jets briefly threatened to make that far more plausible.